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Patti Blagojevich Proclaims Husband’s Innocence In Interview

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Patti Blagojevich, wife of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, sheds a tear as she listens to him address the media after he was sentenced to 14 years in prison at the Dirksen Federal building. (Credit: Frank Polich/Getty Images)

Patti Blagojevich, wife of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, sheds a tear as she listens to him address the media after he was sentenced to 14 years in prison at the Dirksen Federal building. (Credit: Frank Polich/Getty Images)

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UPDATED 02/28/12 11:47 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Life is about to change dramatically for Patti Blagojevich, as her husband prepares to report to federal prison in Colorado in a couple of weeks.

As CBS 2’s Susan Carlson reports, the normally camera-hungry deposed Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been scarce since he was sentenced to 14 years in prison this past November. This is also the first interview Patti Blagojevich has granted since the sentencing.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Speaking to talk show host Rosie O’Donnell, she continued to proclaim her husband’s innocence. She also admitted that the family is dealing with a lot of emotion as they approach March 15, when Rod Blagojevich must report to prison in Littleton, Colo.

O’Donnell counseled Patti Blagojevich on how to deal with the emotional upheaval.

“I think that it would probably be wise to take the time between now and the 15th to get all of those feelings out; to have him face the faces of his children, look them in the eye and say, ‘This is breaking Daddy’s heart,’” O’Donnell said.

At times sobbing, she said, “He was found guilty of getting advice and having routine conversations.”

“You’re going to make me cry,” Patti Blagojevich said.

She broke down in tears began sobbing during the interview and sobbed, as she continued to insist that her husband committed no crime.

“He was found guilty of getting advice and having routine conversations,” Patti said.

She added that “it wasn’t about anything else” and insists there was no criminal intent on her husband’s part. In her words, “I know his heart.”

She also talked in the interview about the fateful morning of Dec. 9, 2008, when the FBI showed up at the family’s Ravenswood Manor home to arrest the then-sitting governor.

“They called and I thought it was a joke,” Patti Blagojevich said. “It was like, ‘We’re the FBI, we’re downstairs. Open the door. We have a warrant for your husband’s arrest.’ And I was like, ‘Who is this? What kind of joke is this?’”

The Blagojeviches’ daughters, Amy and Annie, were 12 and 6 years old at the time.

“Our little one was actually, that night, you know, little ones will decide they want to come into your bed, and so she was actually in the bed that night, so I went down and I had to let (the FBI agents) in, and they immediately charged up the stairs into our bedroom when our little one was sleeping,” she said.

She said nothing could convince her that her husband was anything but innocent.

“I was there, and I heard all the conversations,” she said.

She says as governor, Rod Blagojevich took the people’s trust in him seriously.

“So much of this case was about intent – what was his intent? And I know his intent,” she said. “They can say whatever they want. I know what his intentions were.”

Blagojevich was convicted last year of 18 corruption charges, including an allegation that he tried to sell President Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat in 2008. U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel sentenced him to 14 years in prison in December.

Patti and the girls are not expected to move to Colorado to be closer to Rod during his term.

The Englewood prison where Blagojevich will serve his term is the same facility where Larry Warner – George Ryan’s co-defendant – also served two years for corruption in another state scandal. It also houses former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling.

O’Donnell remarked briefly Tuesday morning about her interview with Patti Blagojevich.

“She was lovely, actually,” O’Donnell said. “She was very nice.”

The interview airs at 6 p.m. Wednesday on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

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