Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was officially disbarred on Monday, more than two months after a state panel recommended he lose his law license due to his conviction in an array of brazen corruption schemes when he was in office, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“Rod Blagojevich’s release from federal prison last week culminated a nearly two-year campaign to put the once-prominent Democrat’s case on President Trump’s agenda, orchestrated by a volunteer adviser who once worked for the former Illinois governor’s political opponents,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Mr. Blagojevich was convicted in 2011 for trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat of president-elect Barack Obama, among other charges. But by enlisting the help of marquee political figures from across the spectrum, a now 38-year-old GOP consultant named Mark Vargas successfully reframed Mr. Blagojevich’s conviction for corruption into a case of prosecutorial overreach linked to former FBI Director Robert Mueller and others criticized by the president for looking into his 2016 campaign.”
Chicago Tribune: “In his winding ‘homecoming’ speech and various media interviews since having his sentence commuted Tuesday by President Donald Trump, Blagojevich has woven a web of half-truths and, to critics, hypocrisies around his newly found freedom. He has promoted unfounded conspiracy theories, attacked his former prosecutors and downplayed his own criminal behavior.”
“And as he has been since the moment of his arrest, Blagojevich remains unrepentant. If anything, a lengthy incarceration has only strengthened his belief that he is the victim of political corruption and not the perpetrator.”
“He also seems emboldened by Trump’s bombastic style, which drastically changed the political and cultural landscape while Blagojevich was behind bars. That new reality allows for hurling allegations regardless of their veracity, excoriating perceived opponents in the media and often shouting down the truth.”
“I’m returning home today from a long exile, a freed political prisoner.”
— Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, quoted by Politico, at a news conference after being pardoned by President Trump.
“President Trump earlier this week asked for a show of hands from hundreds of wealthy donors in Chicago if they supported letting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) out of prison,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The informal poll over clemency for the disgraced former politician found that most people in the room were sympathetic… A trio of Republican congressmen at the back of the room was firmly opposed.”
“The Rev. Jesse Jackson and his oldest son, former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), have urged President Trump to pardon Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor whose arrest on charges of trying to sell a Senate seat ensnared the younger Mr. Jackson,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, Mr. Jackson Jr. was among those considered to fill his Senate seat… Federal investigators turned their attention to Mr. Jackson Jr. after the Blagojevich trial, and in 2013 he pleaded guilty to one count of felony fraud for converting campaign funds to personal use.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said that he would support a move by President Trump to commute the prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), the Washington Post reports.
Said Durbin: “I think that the sentence imposed on Rod Blagojevich was definitely way too long. Fourteen years, it didn’t make sense.”
Durbin said he would not comment on Blagojevich’s culpability but said he believes the length of his sentence was “outrageous.”
President Trump told reporters that he is considering pardoning Martha Stewart and commuting former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s sentence, CNN reports.
Both were stars with Trump on NBC’s “The Apprentice.”
Chicago Tribune: “On Monday night, Patti Blagojevich appeared on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight,’ which airs on Fox — said to be Trump’s favorite news source. Carlson started the interview by asking her what ‘her pitch’ would be to the president for pardoning her husband.”
Said Blagojevich: “My husband is probably the only person in the entire history of the United States who is serving any kind of sentence for simply asking for campaign contributions.”
The disgraced governor was a contestant on Trump’s program “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2010 as he faced charges that he tried to sell off President Obama’s Senate seat.
“Extreme heat, drenched in sweat, with no air movement, scores of angry men, snoring and other bad, unpleasant sounds—I remember moaning to myself, ‘How the ‘f’ did I end up here?’”
— Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), in an interview with Chicago Magazine on his life in prison.
Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s 20-year-old daughter wrote an angry open letter to former President Barack Obama, saying she lost respect for him after he declined to commute her father’s 14-year federal prison sentence before he left office, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Said Amy Blagojevich:”Everyone seems to be mourning your exit from office. I’m glad you’re gone. I’m not delusional — you’re not a saint. You were a mediocre president with unoriginal ideas.”
She added: “I thought you would finally right this wrong. You didn’t have to pardon him, only commute the sentence. You just had to let him come home. You didn’t. You released others, like Chelsea Manning or FALN terrorists, who actually committed reprehensible crimes, but you failed to release an innocent man.”
The Supreme Court won’t reconsider its decision to reject former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s (D) appeal of his corruption convictions, the AP reports.
“The justices on Monday denied without comment a long-shot petition urging the court to take another look at the case. The court first turned down Blagojevich’s appeal on March.”
An appeals court vacated five convictions and threw out the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), WLS-TV reports. The rest of Blagojevich’s convictions were affirmed by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
“If Blagojevich chooses to appeal, he must tell the court within the next two weeks. But with five counts thrown out, the former governor will at some point be re-sentenced, and his attorneys will argue that his 14 years be dramatically reduced.”