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Rod Blagojevich's lawyers ask judge to place him in drug rehab program

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrives at a federal courthouse for a hearing in Chicago July 15, 2011.
AP Photo
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrives at a federal courthouse for a hearing in Chicago July 15, 2011. It is Blagojevich's first time in court since a jury convicted him of multiple corruption counts in June. Judge James Zagel warned Blagojevich that he could lose his Chicago home and a condo in Washington if he tried to flee or otherwise violated his bond terms.
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, July 15, 2011.
AP Photo

(CBS/AP) CHICAGO - Lawyers for former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich are asking to have him enter a drug rehab program when he checks into federal prison in 2012, but they are keeping quiet about why.

Inmates in prison rehab typically get a year deducted from their sentences, work fewer hours and live separately from the general population. However, to get into a program, they must show evidence of a history of drug problems.

Typically, evidence of a problem before the person's arrest carries more weight than a problem reported afterward, Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said.

"We're looking for anybody trying to game the system and trying to get that year off," he said.

Blagojevich was convicted of 18 counts of corruption, including charges that he tried to sell or trade the U.S. senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. He will serve a 14-year prison sentence beginning in March 2012.

Judge James Zagel agreed Tuesday to recommend Blagojevich for the program. Thus far, the ex-governor and his legal team have not publicly identified any drug abuse problems since his 2008 arrest.

Blagojevich's attorneys are not commenting on whether their client has an addiction, or whether the request is a legal maneuver.

Vetran defense attorney Gal Pissetzky has closely followed the Blagojevich case said he's had many clients who ask to join programs such as drug rehab.

"They always try and get some type of a program," he said.

Federal prison officials get the final say on whether an inmate can enter the program.