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Trump 'Strongly Considering' Releasing Blagojevich From Prison

Rod and Patti Blagojevich
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Rod and Patti Blagojevich speak with reporters in Chicago in this file photo from 2011.

President Donald Trump says he is “very strongly considering” commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

Speaking with reporters last night aboard Air Force One, Trump says Blagojevich was “treated unbelievably unfairly.” That’s according to a transcript of the conversation provided by the White House.

Blagojevich was charged with corruption in 2008, then impeached and removed from office.

He briefly appeared on Trump’s reality show, “The Celebrity Apprentice,” before he was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Without a pardon or commutation from the president, federal prison authorities project he’ll be released in 2024.

Former First Lady Patti Blagojevich has been trying to appeal directly to Trump by occasionally appearing on Fox News Channel.

Trump isn’t the only politician who thinks Blagojevich got too much time. Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, has previously said he too would support a shorter sentence.

Correction | Aug. 8, 2019: The headline and story have been corrected to reflect the fact that Trump said he is considering commuting Blagojevich’s prison sentence. An earlier version incorrectly reported he was considering a pardon.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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