JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. – Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s prison release may be on hold, at least for now.
President Donald Trump has been contemplating commuting the politician’s sentence for corruption. Blagojevich has served a little more than half of his 14-year sentence.
“Not a friend of mine. He’s a Democrat, not a Republican. It’s Illinois. I think he was treated very, very unfairly,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday. “His name is Rod Blagojevich and I’m thinking about commuting his sentence.”
According to Fox News, sources say Blagojevich was being processed for discharge last Thursday. Those same sources told Fox News he made it to the final step, called “reception and discharge,” when his release was suddenly stopped.
That same day, the president tweeted about Blagojevich’s sentence, saying “White House is continuing review of this matter.”
According to Fox News, a member of the president’s administration halted the commutation because he or she was “concerned from the public push back”.
“The Blagojevich situation is angering — not just upsetting — some Republicans, truly angering them. And this could backfire significantly on the president,” FOX31 political analyst Andy Boian said.
Heading into a heavy campaign season, Boian says it is risky for Trump to grant clemency to a convicted corrupt politician on the other side of the aisle.
“This could cost you not only Illinois, not only Ohio, it could cost you Pennsylvania, any kind of competitive race you have anywhere in the Midwest,” Boian said.
In a statement to media, Blagojevich family spokesman Mark Vargas responded, saying, “The family is grateful to President Trump, and they are hopeful that their 11-year nightmare might soon be over. We will refer any of these specific questions to the Bureau of Prisons.”
FOX31 has reached out to the Bureau of Prisons and FCI Englewood, where Blagojevich is housed. We have not received a response to our questions.