Daily US Times, Colorado: US President Donald Trump stuns everybody by freeing Rod Blagojevich, former Illinois Governor, and a Democrat. As Trump commuted his sentence, Mr. Blagojevich got released from the federal prison on Tuesday and flew back to Chicago.
After release, Blagojevich said he was “grateful” to Trump.
The 63-year-old Democrat said “He didn’t have to do this, he’s a Republican president and I was a Democratic governor. I’ll have a lot more to say tomorrow.”
Blagojevich had been serving a 14-year sentence in a Colorado federal prison for charges of using his powers as governor to extract campaign money and other political favors in exchange for naming a successor to fill the Illinois Senate seat left open when Barack Obama became president, but Trump objected to the length of his sentence.
He was convicted in 2011.
Donald Trump spoke about the pardon at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. The president said “He served eight years in jail. Many people disagree with the sentence.”
After arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Mr. Blagojevich further said: “I didn’t do the things they said I did.”
He shook hands and signed autographs with supporters while leaving the airport and walked into a van.
The current Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat criticized Trump’s pardon as ”abuse of his pardon power in inexplicable ways to reward his friends and condone corruption.” He added that the pardon sent “the wrong message at the wrong time.”
Blagojevich’s wife said her husband would have a “homecoming” press conference at their home later today.