Trump says he's commuted the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich




  • In US
  • 2020-02-18 18:48:00Z
  • By ABC News
Trump says he\
Trump says he\'s commuted the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich  

Trump says he's commuted the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

President Donald Trump has commuted the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, was convicted in 2011 by a federal jury in Chicago on 17 counts, including an attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated when President Barack Obama was elected in 2008.

He was sentenced to 14 years in prison and has been serving his prison time at a Colorado federal prison since 2012. His date for expected release was 2024, factoring in two years of credit for good behavior.

MORE: Disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Appears in Court Via Video Link

Trump has long floated the idea, saying he thinks Blagojevich has served enough time and has been treated unfairly.

"I am thinking very seriously about commuting his sentence so that he can go home to his family after seven years," Trump said in August of last year. "You have drug dealers that get not even 30 days, and they've killed 25 people. They put him in jail for 18 years, and he has many years left. And I think it's very unfair."

In January this year, Blagojevich penned a column on Newsmax titled, "House Democrats Would Have Impeached Lincoln" amid the now-wrapped congressional impeachment efforts against President Trump. While Blagojevich didn't mention Trump's name in the column, his wife Patti Blagojevich tagged the president's name as she retweeted the piece.

Blagojevich appears to defend President Trump against House Democrat's efforts in the column, comparing the impeachment proceedings with his own criminal case, and calling the House impeachment vote an "abuse of the Constitution."

"No president is safe if a majority of hyperpartisan House members from the opposition party are willing to abuse the Constitution and vote to impeach," Blagojevich wrote. "And the worst part of it is, that should this happen, those politicians are taking from the people their right to choose their own leaders though free elections."

While in prison, the disgraced governor rose to fame in part because of his penchant for sartorial flamboyance, larger-than-life persona, and an apparent eagerness to perform for the camera. He became known through tabloids by the mononym "Blago," and the Chicago Tribune reported that inmates inside of the prison refer to him simply as "Gov."

In 2009, he appeared on NBC's "The Apprentice," a reality TV show hosted by presidential Trump and fronted a prison band called "The Jailhouse Rockers," which was used by his defense team as an example of his good behavior during the appeal to no avail.

The band was used by his defense team as an example of his good behavior during the appeal to no avail.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

ABC News' Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.

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