Blagojevich, who served eight years behind bars in Colorado, jokingly referred to as himself a “Trumpocrat,” saying the president “noticed a incorrect and corrected it.”
Trump stated the punishment imposed on the Chicago Democrat and one-time contestant on Trump’s actuality TV present “Movie star Apprentice” was extreme. “So he’ll be capable to return dwelling together with his household,” he stated. “That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence in my opinion and in the opinion of many others.”
Blagojevich was convicted in his second trial in 2011 on 18 counts, together with attempting to promote former President Obama’s previous Senate seat. His first trial ended with the jury unable to achieve a verdict, apart from a single conviction, for mendacity to the FBI.
“I’ve got this thing and it’s f—— golden. And I’m just not giving it up for f—— nothing,” Blagojevich stated about Obama’s seat on an notorious wiretap recording.
“I didn’t do the things they said I did and they lied on me,” Blagojevich informed Chicago’s WGN-TV as he walked by O’Hare airport shaking the palms of vacationers who welcomed him dwelling.
As he exited the airport doorways he was rushed by media and supporters, signing a number of autographs earlier than getting right into a white SUV and rushing out of the airport towards his Ravenswood dwelling. There he was rushed by a crowd of journalists and supporters to his entrance door. He stated he was pleased to be dwelling together with his spouse and youngsters earlier than disappearing into the home.
Blagojevich stated he would have extra to say in a Wednesday information convention.
Trump expressed some sympathy for Blagojevich when he appeared on “Movie star Apprentice” in 2010, earlier than his first corruption trial began. When Trump “fired” Blagojevich as a contestant, he praised him for a way he was combating his felony case, telling him, “You have a hell of a lot of guts.”
Blagojevich testified throughout his trial, calling himself a flawed dreamer grounded in his dad and mom’ working-class values. He stated the hours of FBI recordings had been the ramblings of a politician who preferred to assume out loud.
After he was launched, the previous governor stated he discovered how unfair the felony justice system may be throughout his time in jail, particularly for folks of colour. He additionally stated he was drawn nearer to God. “There’s divine intervention in all of this,” he informed reporters.
“I’ll combat in opposition to the corrupt felony justice system that every one too usually persecutes and prosecutes individuals who did nothing incorrect, who over-sentences folks, present no mercy, and who’re in positions who haven’t any accountability,” Blagojevich stated. “They’ll do no matter they need. They’ll put you into jail for issues that are not crimes.”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker rebuked the president’s commutation in a press release.
Trump “has abused his pardon power in inexplicable ways to reward his friends and condone corruption, and I deeply believe this pardon sends the wrong message at the wrong time,” he stated.
Chairman of the Illinois GOP, Tim Schneider, agreed. “In a state the place corrupt, machine-style politics remains to be all too widespread, it is essential that these discovered responsible serve their jail sentence in its entirety,” he stated.
Trump made clear that he noticed similarities between efforts to research his personal conduct and those that took down Blagojevich.
“It was a prosecution by the identical folks — Comey, Fitzpatrick, the identical group,” Trump stated. He was referring to Patrick Fitzgerald, the previous U.S. lawyer who prosecuted Blagojevich and now represents former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired from the company in Could 2017.
Blagojevich grew to become the primary Illinois governor to be eliminated by lawmakers in an almost unanimous vote after he was impeached in 2009.
He entered jail in March 2012.
In 2015, the seventh U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals in Chicago tossed out 5 of his convictions, together with ones by which he provided to nominate somebody to a high-paying job within the Senate.
A joint assertion from the lead prosecutors at Blagojevich’s trial, none of whom work within the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace in Chicago anymore, stopped in need of criticizing Trump’s determination. However they highlighted the convictions, together with attempting to shake down a youngsters’s hospital, saying, “Mr. Blagojevich stays a felon.”
Blagojevich Tuesday night stated he’s made errors however by no means broke any legal guidelines. “I crossed no traces. And the issues I talked about doing had been authorized and this was routine politics and those who did it are those who broke the legal guidelines and those who frankly ought to meet and face some accountability.”
The Related Press contributed to this report.