The judge ordered Blagojevich, who was sentenced to 14 years for corruption, to report to prison Feb. 16 but his lawyers could ask that he remain free on bond while they pursue an appeal. Blagojevich, however, would have to convince the court that he doesn't pose a flight risk, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.
The former governor's brother, Robert Blagojevich, said he wrote a letter to U.S. District Court Judge James Zagel seeking leniency.
"I said he was brought up in a family of good strong values and morals, and I just don't believe in any way that he did anything with intention," he told the Tribune. "I did say that he had surrounded himself with advisers who did not represent him well in the community."
Robert Blagojevich said he cried when his younger brother apologized to him in court.
While the relationship between the two men had been severely strained by the legal ordeal, he said he had called and left a message for his brother last weekend before the sentencing.
"At the end of the day," he said, "we're brothers."
At his sentencing Wednesday, Rod Blagojevich apologized for dragging his brother into his political and legal mess.
"I want to apologize to my brother," he told the judge. "My brother is a good man. I want to apologize to his family. I apologize for getting him involved in this whole thing. He had a happy, quiet, successful life at Nashville and he moved to help his little brother, and that happy world was dramatically changed for several years for him, and I just want to express my apologies publicly to him as I've done privately."