Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich holds press conference after prison release

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich holds press conference after prison release

CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was released from prison just hours after President Donald Trump commuted his sentence.

He held a news conference at his home in Chicago at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

RAW VIDEO: Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich news conference

Reducing Blagojevich’s prison sentence was one of a handful of cases in which the President intervened.

Political expert John Jackson with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute said Blagojevich’s commutation on Tuesday, Feb. 18 will go down in the history books.

While Illinois is not new to governors serving time, Jackson said the decision to lessen a governor’s sentence is.

Blagojevich was convicted of political corruption in 2011.

“This was an overwhelming vote to impeach him and remove him from office in the first place,” Jackson said.

After Blagojevich was removed from office and before he went to federal prison, he appeared on Trump’s reality TV show “Celebrity Apprentice.”

Jackson said the President’s action “undermines the judicial process.”

“It means that the President doesn’t really have much regard for the judicial branch right now, and he’s showing it in these myriad cases that he’s intervening in," Jackson said.

Illinois Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives disagree with the President’s decision to commute Blagojevich’s sentence.

Lawmakers, political science expert react to Blagojevich’s commutation

In a joint statement, Representative Mike Bost, John Shimkus and others said:

“We are disappointed by the President’s commutation of Rod Blagojevich’s federal sentence. We believe he received an appropriate and fair sentence, which was the low-end of the federal sentencing guidelines for the gravity of his public corruption convictions. Blagojevich is the face of public corruption in Illinois, and not once has he shown any remorse for his clear and documented record of egregious crimes that undermined the trust placed in him by voters. As our state continues to grapple with political corruption, we shouldn’t let those who breached the public trust off the hook. History will not judge Rod Blagojevich well.”
Illinois House Republican Delegation

Other Illinois legislators also weighed in.

“I do not believe Rod Blagojevich should have been let out of jail early,” Bryant said. “Illinoisans were defrauded by Governor Blagojevich and his endless attempts to use his position as Governor for personal gain. I hope the Federal justice department will continue to work to root out corruption in the State Capitol.”
State Rep. Terri Bryant
“Today’s news that President Trump has commuted the sentence of convicted felon and former Governor Rod Blagojevich is a disappointment. Illinois has a corruption problem, and a long-history of Governor’s and politicians going to jail. Rod Blagojevich’s crimes were heinous, and he was rightly removed from office and sent to prison.”
State Rep. Dave Severin
“Rod Blagojevich’s crimes as Governor were serious, and I believe the punishment he was given was warranted. President Trump’s Justice Department has done yeoman’s work to find and stop corrupt politicians currently serving in Illinois. I am hopeful that their work will continue despite this setback for ethics reform for Illinois.”
State Rep. Patrick Windhorst

Blagojevich served eight out of his 14-year sentence.

According to the White House, Blagojevich has spent his time in prison improving himself and helping other inmates. Officials say he tutors and teaches GED classes, mentors prisoners and speaks to them about their civic duties.

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