'I'm a Trump-ocrat': Blagojevich thanks president for setting him free

  • In US
  • 2020-02-19 03:56:48Z
  • By NBC News
\'I\'m a Trump-ocrat\': Blagojevich thanks president for setting him free  

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, freed from prison Tuesday, heaped "profound and everlasting gratitude" on President Donald Trump for commuting his sentence.

"President Trump is the one who did this, and I'm ... profoundly grateful," Blagojevich, who was a Democrat, told reporters Tuesday night at Denver International Airport.

"He's got obviously a big fan in me," said Blagojevich, who has gone totally gray since entering prison. "And if you're asking me what my party affiliation is, I'm a Trump-ocrat."

"He didn't have to do this. He's a Republican president; I was a Democratic governor," Blagojevich said. "My fellow Democrats have not been very kind to him. ... In fact, they've been very unkind to him."

Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office in 2009 on corruption charges and was sentenced in 2011 to 14 years in federal prison. He had served eight years.

The corruption charges were related to his solicitation of bribes in an attempt to "sell" the Senate seat Barack Obama left open after he was elected president.

Blagojevich had been at the low-security Federal Correctional Institute in Englewood, Colorado. He was a contestant on Trump's reality TV show "The Celebrity Apprentice" in 2010.

The president had said in August that he was "very strongly" considering giving Blagojevich a reprieve.

In addition to commuting Blagojevich's sentence Tuesday, Trump also pardoned former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik, former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., and Michael Milken.

Blagojevich, who said he was planning a news conference Wednesday, said he was looking forward to returning home to his family.

He said he had no warning or advance notice or inkling that his sentence would be commuted Tuesday, and that other inmates saw it on the news and told him.

"I've learned a lot" in prison, he said, calling the criminal justice system "broken" and "unfair."

"It's also racist, and I saw how it affects people of color," Blagojevich said, citing what he said were cases of non-violent first-time drug offenders made to do decades in prison for mistakes that they made.

Blagojevich, who maintains his innocence, said he plans to fight against a system "that all too often persecutes and prosecutes people who did nothing wrong, who over-sentence people, who show no mercy."

"They can put you into prison for things that aren't crimes," he said.

Blagojevich was arrested in late 2008 on allegations that he had tried to profit from selling off Obama's open Senate seat, and he was impeached in January 2009 after he refused to resign.

He was convicted in federal court in Chicago later that year on one of 24 felony counts - lying to the FBI about the extent of his involvement in campaign fundraising. Jurors deadlocked on the other counts.

At his 2011 retrial, he was convicted of three shakedown attempts - one involving a children's hospital, one involving a racetrack and one involving the Senate seat.

Between his trials, he tried to rehabilitate his image and signed up as a contestant on "The Celebrity Apprentice." He was "fired" after four episodes after bungling a Harry Potter presentation.


More Related News

Acting Navy secretary is out after bungled firing of USS Theodore Roosevelt
Acting Navy secretary is out after bungled firing of USS Theodore Roosevelt's captain

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, who had lambasted Capt. Brett Crozier for his letter about a coronavirus-stricken warship, submitted his resignation, sources said.

How a Ship
How a Ship's Coronavirus Outbreak Became a Moral Crisis for the Military

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's acting Navy secretary, in a profanity-laced reprimand delivered Monday, criticized sailors aboard the stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt for cheering their captain, who was removed after he appealed for help as the coronavirus spread throughout the

Trade Adviser Warned White House in January of Risks of a Pandemic
Trade Adviser Warned White House in January of Risks of a Pandemic

A top White House adviser starkly warned Trump administration officials in late January that the coronavirus crisis could cost the United States trillions of dollars and put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death.The warning, written in a memo by Peter Navarro, President Donald Trump's

Trump Proceeds With Post-Impeachment Purge Amid Pandemic
Trump Proceeds With Post-Impeachment Purge Amid Pandemic

WASHINGTON -- Remember the impeachment? President Donald Trump does. Even in the middle of a pandemic, he made clear on Saturday that he remained fixated on purging the government of those he believes betrayed him during the inquiry that led to his Senate trial.The president's under-cover-of-darkness

U.S. 'wasted' months before preparing for virus pandemic

As the first alarms sounded in early January that an outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China might ignite a global pandemic, the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment. A review

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: US