Blagojevich back in Chicago after prison sentence commuted, maintains innocence


CHICAGO (KDVR/WGN) — Former-Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is waking up in his Chicago home for the first time in eight years.

Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced he commuted Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence. Trump told reporters the former governor’s sentence was “ridiculous.”

Blagojevich was convicted of political corruption just months after he appeared on Trump’s reality TV show, “Celebrity Apprentice.”

The Federal Bureau of Prisons said Tuesday night that Blagojevich had left the Jefferson County facility.

It is unclear exactly when he departed the prison. However, he briefly spoke to reporters at Denver International Airport about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday while waiting for his flight to Chicago.

“I think it’s appropriate to express my deepest and most profound and everlasting gratitude to President Trump. He didn’t have to do this. He’s a Republican president. I was a Democratic governor. And my fellow Democrats haven’t exactly been very nice to him. So I’m very grateful to him and I’ll have a lot more to say tomorrow,” Blagojevich said.

FOX31’s Shaul Turner was the only Denver reporter to interview the former governor at DIA. She asked him if he had any political goals.

“When you’ve been in a place like I’ve been at for the last eight years, you kind of take one day at a time. You don’t think too far ahead because you don’t know what tomorrow’s going to bring,” he said.

Blagojevich said he learned a lot while incarcerated.

“I’ve learned a lot about our criminal justice system and how wrong and how unfair it can be — how cruel it can be. I learned about how it disproportionately discriminates against people of color,” he said, adding that the experience has brought him closer to God.

A news conference is scheduled in Chicago at 10 a.m. Mountain Time.

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