- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - A 68-year-old judge who approved investigators’ request to secretly record then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is retiring.

The U.S. District Court for northern Illinois announced James Holderman’s retirement Monday.

President Ronald Reagan nominated him in 1985. Holderman also served as chief judge from 2006 to 2013. And in the early 2000s, he helped coordinate the court’s switch from a paper to an electronic filing system.

Holderman has overseen hundreds of jury and bench trials.

He didn’t preside over Blagojevich’s two corruption trials. But the wiretaps he signed off on became the core of the government’s evidence against the Chicago Democrat. Blagojevich is currently serving a 14-year prison term.

The clerk of the court, Tom Bruton, praised Holderman. He says Holderman always displayed a “passion for standing up for what is right.”

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