US

‘He Was Treated Unbelievably Unfairly:’ Trump Again Talks About Commuting Blagojevich’s Sentence

By Venus Upadhayaya

President Donald Trump is strongly considering commuting the sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich who is half-way through serving his 14-years prison term for multiple federal corruption charges.

“But we’re going to be doing something very, I think—very impactful.  A man who is a Democrat, not a Republican—who I don’t know very well, but he was on “The Apprentice” for a couple of weeks,” the President told reporters aboard Air Force One en route Joint Base Andrews on Aug. 7.

Blagojevich was elected as governor of Illinois in 2002. He was later impeached, removed from office for corruption, and sentenced to federal prison.

“Not a friend of mine.  He’s a Democrat, not a Republican.  It’s Illinois.  I think he was treated very, very unfairly, just as others were,” said Trump.

The President said he’s considering commuting Blagojevich’s sentence so that he can return to his family.

Commuting Blagojevich’s sentence wouldn’t mean giving a full pardon as that would remove the conviction from Blagojevich’s record.

Patti Blagojevich (R), wife of disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, looks at him while he pauses at a news conference outside his home in Chicago on March 14, 2012.(Frank Polich/Getty Images)

Trump said he is very impressed with Blagojevich’s family. “I’m very impressed with his wife. I mean, she has lived for this.  She has—she’s one hell of a woman.  She has lived—she goes on and she makes her case.  And it’s—it’s really very sad,” The President told reporters.

The President had first talked about commuting Blagojevich’s sentence last year on May 31.

“Eighteen years in jail for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know that many other politicians say,” Trump said.

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (R) hugs his daughter Annie as they walk toward a waiting car as he holds a news conference outside his home in Chicago on March 14, 2012. (Frank Polich/Getty Images)

Response by Blagojevich Family

Blagojevich’s wife, Patti Blagojevich issued a statement in response to Trump’s message.

“Our President’s comments on Air Force One last night make us very hopeful that our almost 11-year nightmare might soon be over. We are very grateful,” Patti said in a written reply to The Epoch Times.

In an earlier message on Facebook and Twitter, Patti had recognized Trump for his support and kind words.

“Today is another sad day on this painful journey as it marks 7 years that Rod has been away from home. President Trump was correct when he tweeted 7 years ago today: ‘It’s outrageous that Blagojevich goes to jail for 14 years when killers and sex offenders are out walking the streets. Is this justice…I don’t think so.’

“We remain hopeful that better days are ahead, and we are grateful for the President’s support and kind words, going back to 2012,” Patti wrote on Facebook on March 15.

Patti has been by her husband’s side and has been very vocal and visible in her support of him all this while.

“It never ceases to amaze me the depths that some people go to make money-personally attacking and disparaging my husband’s tenure as governor just to sell a book,” Patti wrote in an earlier message on Facebook.

“For over six years Rod worked tirelessly every single day, seven days a week, to make sure that the citizens of our great state–especially those in our urban communities–had a safer, healthier and brighter future. And for anyone to suggest otherwise is not only hurtful–its wrong. I’ll allow his record to speak for itself-and I challenge any governor before or after him to match all that was accomplished in 6 short years,” Patti wrote before giving an extensive list of her husband’s achievements.