Blagojevich makes splash in Denver, then goes to prison

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DENVER -- Rod Blagojevich started serving his prison sentence for corruption Thursday at the Federal Correctional Institute in Jefferson County.

A circus like atmosphere surrounded the former Governor of Illinois as he spent his final hours of freedom in Colorado. He’s the second governor in a row from that state to go to prison for corruption.

Blagojevich faces 14 years in prison – for his corruption conviction related to trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama.

It was chaos, and he seemed to have a great time. He stopped to grab a bite to eat and greet customers at a fast food restaurant, and said hello to people from Illinois who gathered outside the prison to see him.

Blagojevich had an exciting trip from Chicago to Colorado with tons of media attention.

He arrived at the prison just before the noon deadline.

But now he's got 14 years to think about things.

Rod Blagojevich may not have invented the term media circus. But he's king of the big top where ever he goes.

Mobbed by adoring fans, even a disgraced governor takes time to share his wisdom.  "Life is tough. Life is very often unfair, disasters strike, " he says.

Disasters like heading to prison for 14 years.

Prisoner number 40892-424 took time for a burger stop. He greeted the lunch time crowd at Freddie's Burgers on Kipling.

Rhett Davis says, "I noticed the hairdo when I walked in."

As his entourage finally made its way to Federal Correctional Institution Englewood, on the Jefferson County/Denver border, the circus hit a fever pitch.

Police, media and curious onlookers were everywhere.

"That's what I'm looking at is he should have just done what he should have done instead of stealing and whatever he wanted to do," says Maryann Camozzi, who lives near the minimum security prison.

Blagojevich even made some a little homesick.

"Chicago does not have too good of a reputation you know,” Illinois native Mary Maikranz says. “But hopefully things will get better. I do miss Illinois."

Blagojevich gets 54 days a year time-off for good behavior, so unless he messes up, he'll be out in 12 years.

He has a pretty busy 24 hours starting with his arrival at the prison Thursday.

He was welcomed with a thorough search which removed all contraband.

Then a meeting with his team leader was scheduled.

Blagojevich also had medical and psychological evaluations, before being assigned his roommates.

He could end up living in a two-man or four-man cell.

The prison is home to 1,100 inmates.

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