President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that he is "very strongly considering" commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was convicted in 2011 of several federal corruption charges.
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"I think he was treated unbelievably unfairly," Trump said. "I am thinking very seriously about commuting his sentence so that he can go home to his family after seven years."
Trump spoke with reporters Wednesday on Air Force One after traveling to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, to visit with first responders and victims of separate mass shootings reported over the weekend.
"We're thinking about commuting (Blagojevich's) sentence so he can go back to his wife and children," Trump said. "I'm very impressed with his family. I'm very impressed with his wife. I mean, she has lived for this."
Blagojevich, a Democrat, served as governor of Illinois from 2003 until 2009, when he was impeached from office. Two years later, he was convicted of several federal corruption charges for attempting to use his office for personal gain, The Chicago Tribune reported. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He's expected to be released in 2024, according to WUIS.
"He's been in seven years, over a phone call where nothing happens," Trump said. "He should have said what he said, but it was braggadocio, you would say."
Blagojevich, 62, was arrested in December 2008 after he was secretly recorded allegedly trying to sell an appointment to the Senate seat vacated when former President Barack Obama was elected to his first term in office.
"I've got this thing, and it's (expletive) golden," Blagojevich said in the recording, according to The Wall Street Journal. "I'm just not giving it up for (expletive) nothing."
Blagojevich appeared in a few episodes of Trump's reality show, "Celebrity Apprentice" in 2010. Trump told reporters Wednesday that he didn't know Blagojevich well.
Trump said in 2018 that he was considering commuting Blagojevich's sentence after he pardoned conservative author and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza. At the time, he said Blagojevich did something dumb but he added that "lots of politicians" do.
The president has issued several pardons since his January 2017 inauguration. Among others, he's issued pardons for former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby and boxer Jack Johnson.