CHICAGO (CBS) — Some well-known figures who were imprisoned for political corruption have sobering advice for ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich as he prepares to spend 14 years behind federal bars.
Betty Loren-Maltese spent seven years in a federal prison in connection with an insurance scam when she was town president. She tells WBBM Newsradio life will abruptly change for Blagojevich.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Kris Kridel reports
The disgraced former governor was sentenced Wednesday in federal court for his conviction on several corruption charges.
“As soon as he gets his first strip search, he’s going to realize how his life has changed dramatically,” Loren-Maltese says.
James Laski, the former Chicago city clerk convicted of bribery, did a year in federal prison and says Blagojevich better check his ego at the front gate.
“He’s going to have to strip down, and they’re going to do cavity searches,” Laski told CBS 2’s Mike Parker. “He’s going to be fingerprinted, he’s going to get photographed and they’re going to ship all of the clothes that he wore that day back in a box back home to his wife.”
“It’s absolutely dehumanizing,” he said.
Scott Fawell, a former top aide to ex-Gov. George Ryan, did 55 months for racketeering and fraud. He says the second or third night of his sentence, prison officials drilled this into his head: “We know you used to be somebody on the outside. But you’re nobody here.”
“In some ways, it’s tougher for guys like me and for what Rod will go through,” Fawell said. “He’s certainly going to have to tone it down.”
Ryan was convicted of political racketeering and is currently serving a 6 ½-year sentence.
Laski said ultimately prison is “just a lonely existence.”
When Loren-Maltese was shipped off to prison, her daughter was five years old. She urges Blagojevich to spend all of his time before he must report to prison – Feb. 16 – with his daughters.
“That’s who I feel sorry for and I think he should really get some counseling for his daughters now,” she said.
Loren-Maltese was released from prison last year. She is still appealing her case.