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Trump commutes ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s prison sentence

The former Illinois governor has been behind bars since 2012 and was convicted of trying to sell the Senate seat of then-President-Elect Barack Obama.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. 

The president made the announcement in remarks to reporters Tuesday before he boarded Air Force One. 

"He seems like a very nice person, don’t know him. He served eight years in jail, there's a long time to go, many people disagree with the sentence,” Trump said. 

Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison term and since 2012 has been behind bars at the Englewood Federal Correctional Institution near Littleton, Colorado. 

A person close to Blagojevich said the 63-year-old Democrat is expected to walk out of prison later Tuesday.  

The former Illinois governor was convicted in 2010 of trying to sell the Senate seat of then-President-Elect Barack Obama and trying to shake down a children’s hospital. 

He had been on track for release in March 2024, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. 

Trump told reporters last August that he was considering a commutation for Blagojevich, saying at the time that he thought the former Illinois governor had been treated "unbelievably unfairly." 

Before his criminal trial on corruption charges began, Blagojevich was impeached in 2009 by Illinois lawmakers and the Illinois Senate voted unanimously to remove him from office. 

He then appeared on NBC's "The Apprentice," a reality TV show then hosted by Trump. Months later he was convicted of political corruption in 2010. 

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After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Blagojevich's appeal, his wife reached out to President Trump for a pardon in April 2018. 

Trump also announced Tuesday that he has pardoned former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik and granted clemency to financier Michael Milken.  

Credit: AP
FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, with his wife Patti at his side, speaks to the media in Chicago before reporting to federal prison in Denver.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.