Former Gov. Blagojevich Reports To Federal Prison

Blagojevich Before Entering Prison: 'I Look At It Like A Military Base, Like I’m Reporting To Do Military Service'

Updated 03/15/12 – 4:52 p.m.

LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS) — More than three years after being arrested by federal agents while still serving his governor, Rod Blagojevich has reported to a federal prison in Colorado to begin his 14-year sentence.

After driving past the prison a few times, then stopping at a hamburger restaurant for a Coke, Blagojevich arrived by car at FCI Englewood, a low-security federal prison in Littleton, Colo., and walked into the complex at 12:50 p.m. Chicago time, approximately 10 minutes before his required surrender time.

While making a pit stop at the Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers in Littleton, Blagojevich granted one last interview to reporters, saying he misses home already.

“There’s no sugar-coating this. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. And I have a hole in my heart. It’s an empty feeling,” he said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports

Freddy’s general manager Josh Andreakos said Blagojevich’s attorneys ordered a double patty melt for him, but he only ate part of it, then gave the rest to some students at the restaurant.

“He seemed like he was in good spirits. He went around and shook hands and talked to a few people and then left,” Andreakos said.

Blagojevich shook hands and posed for photos with many of the customers inside the restaurant before sitting down to drink a cup of Coke and talk to reporters one final time.

Blagojevich said, even while driving past the prison, he still had a hard time telling himself he was going behind bars.

“I have a hard time saying that word, that I have to go into a prison. I mean, I keep speaking euphemistically about a place,” Blagojevich said. “I look at it like a military base, like I’m reporting to do military service. That’s a little game I play with myself. But the sad reality is that’s a prison that I have to walk into shortly.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports

The former governor maintained that he believes his appeal of his conviction on 18 corruption counts will eventually clear his name while he is in prison.

“I feel that I have to do this real hard thing as part of this terrible thing that’s been happening to my family and to me and hope that, ultimately, what I believe is a terrible wrong will ultimately be righted,” Blagojevich said. “In the meantime, the decision was as it is. It is what the law says it is and I have to abide by the law as I always believe that I have, and I’m going to now do something that I … I’m loathe to do, but I must do. And I’m going to do it as best I can.”

Blagojevich said he hopes his plight will help teach his daughters, Amy and Annie, a lesson about the hardships that many families go through.

“What I said to my kids is what I said to my kids yesterday. It’s that sometimes, inexplicably, terrible things happen, calamities happen, disasters strike; and … they’re hard to comprehend and understand. Life is filled with hardship and life can hurt,” Blagojevich said. “This is an extreme circumstance, but our family is not the only family that’s going through real hard times, suffering loss. And there are other families who are going through much worse loss than what we have to go through, as bad as this is.”

He also lamented that the Catholic high school his daughter, Amy, attends, will soon be closing, at a time when his family needs as much stability as possible. St. Scholastica Academy at 7416 N. Ridge Blvd., has been struggling financially for the last 15 years and does not have enough money to remain open after this school year.

“During these very hard times for our family, it’s been a sanctuary for Amy. It’s been a safe place for her, a place where she can learn, develop friendships, close-knit relationships with the other girls that go to school there, and with the sisters, the nuns and the teachers,” Blagojevich said. “It’s a devastating blow to Amy, especially the timing of it, with me leaving and now the announcement that the school is going to close and she’s going to lose her school.”

Blagojevich and his attorneys spent more than an hour driving from the Denver airport to the prison, then wandering around Littleton before stopping off at the burger joint. Asked what they talked about, defense attorney Aaron Goldstein told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov that “there were a lot of things going on. First we were trying to maneuver our way through Denver. … Rod was … had a lot of phone conversations. He was talking to Patti and the kids over and over again.”

Blagojevich said he spent much of that time on the phone with his family, especially with his younger daughter, Annie.

“She’s got a red little nose, her mother tells me; and she keeps telling me, you know, what she’s going through; and I keep trying to reassure her,” he said. “That’s really the hardest part of this, is the impact on your kids.”

As he was often fond of doing before going to prison, Blagojevich also quoted a line of poetry and referred to the Bible in describing his own plight.

“If you look at history, if you … read the stories in the Bible, there are all kinds of stories that … have this narrative,” Blagojevich said.

“I started out and I got way up high, and I’m now down way low – lower than where I even started – but I don’t believe this is the end of the story,” he added. “I do believe that … like the poet said ‘The valleys make the mountains smaller.’ And I believe that, you know, ultimately right makes might and the right will prevail here.”

Arriving at Denver International Airport from Chicago earlier Thursday morning, Blagojevich thanked the people of Illinois and the residents of his former Congressional district before he became governor for the “honor” of allowing him to serve them.

“And I’m leaving; doing something that I never imagined would ever be possible. I’m still hopeful in the future, I’m still, as I said yesterday, in the same place as I was when I talked to the judge back in December,” he said.

Blagojevich and two of his attorneys — and friends — Goldstein and Sheldon Sorosky, drove to the prison after their stop at the burger restaurant. Blagojevich waved to a gaggle of reporters and cameras across the street from the prison before walking inside.

Goldstein said he gave Blagojevich a parting hug before the former governor was taken into custody, but “there wasn’t really the opportunity to say a lot.”

He said if Blagojevich was scared or anxious about going to prison, he didn’t show it. He said he has no doubt Blagojevich will be okay during his time in prison.

Goldstein said Blagojevich did not bring his wedding band with him to prison, even though it’s one of the few personal items inmates are allowed to bring with them. He also said Blagojevich and his wife decided it was best for Patti and the children to stay home Thursday, rather than traveling to the prison with him.

According to Goldstein, once the former governor walked up to the main entrance of the prison, it took only minutes before Blagojevich was handcuffed and taken away by federal authorities. It was an orderly process that followed their winding and somewhat chaotic trip from Chicago to Denver to Littleton.

Experts say Blagojevich will not receive any preferential treatment in prison. He will be a number, like every other prisoner in the facility.

He will have to give up all of his possessions, except for a simple wedding ring and prescription eyeglasses.

Once inside, Blagojevich will be given a uniform and get a photo ID that he’ll have to carry at all times. He’ll meet his unit team, which will include his case manager, correctional counselor and corrections officer.

He will have visitors only from Friday through Monday, and will only have 300 minutes a month to speak to family and friends.

He’ll be assigned a full-time prison job with the eventual possibility of earning performance pay.

Blagojevich can spend that money in the prison commissary for personal items, but will be limited to $320 a month.

He’ll live in a small room with at least one roommate, and as many as three.

As for his personal grooming, or prison haircut, the prison guidebook states he can keep whatever hairstyle he wants – as long as it will not cause a disruption among the inmate population.

Following two trials, Blagojevich was convicted of 18 counts of corruption, including trying to sell President Barack Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat in 2008.

Federal officials said it costs $73.57 per day to house an inmate in a low-security prison like Englewood. That works out to $26,853.05 a year. If Blagojevich serves his full 14-year sentence – including the three Leap Days he would spend in prison – the grand total would be $376.163.41.

  • Sprky

    Pretty stiff sentence for a man who has done no worse than terrorist Bill Ayers, Obama and other assorted Chicago politicians and assorted radicals. Yet, they walk free.

    Hope Blago writes a tell-all book that reveals just how truly rotten the politics are in the Chicago machine.

    • iris


      • mike


    • Pancho Via

      Don’t worry the pardon or the payoff will ease the pain, the tapes are the insurance.

      Guys like this do easy time. I bet he even picked out the girl.

    • jasperddbagghost

      Last time he get’s to have meat between buns before he get’s some meat between his buns.

    • freecheese

      He had an option to plea bargin and implicate ALL of the Chicago corrupt — including Obama, but he fell on his sword for the democrat party and ‘da guyz down at ‘da union hall,
      He will be pardoned by Obama on November 7th,

      • Slats Royko

        I agree about the pardon and the Gov.Blago falling on his sword, but we the the people of Illinois must ask ourselves a question; Why do we keep voting these slime balls in office, WHY???

      • Bezmenov

        I’m not so sure. Useful idiots, like Rod, are “eliminated” one way or the other during the “normalization” phase of idiological subervsion. The useful idiot has served his purpose and is not longer needed.

      • caligula

        he would have been murdered and his family would have been massacred by obama’s gestapo if he talked. it’s just that simple.

    • Elizabeth Fisher

      Agree. You can’t convince me that Obama, Emanuel, Jarrett and the rest of the Chicago thugocrats that he associates with had nothing to do with this.

    • bgw

      I agree as well. While what Blago did was wrong, there are rapist serving less time.

  • Trad from VT

    Right on Sprky.

  • cindy dial

    Why didn’t he just get his wife a $300,000 /year no-show job at a Chicago hospital?

    • German Leprechaun

      I thought it was $360k a year! LOL Good grief.

  • Dave

    I wonder how long it will be before some other inmate kills him? Dead men tell no tales.

  • German Leprechaun

    Real classy of him to arrive in “business casual”. It’s important to keep up appearances, right up to the end!!! LOL!!

  • Rex

    If Obama is defeated in November, Blago gets pardoned. The deal has already been done. Blago knows too much about the greasy pole of Chicago politics. He will serve no more than 4.5 years, guaranteed.

    • Tells

      Rex, thats exactly what I think. He knows way too much and Obama will pardone him.

  • Publius Madison

    The narcissistic lunatic is off the hook? Military? Bible Stories?

    He’s got himself believing he’s some sort of hero off to a dangerous and courageous adventure of some sort.

    He tells his kids that the lesson is that ‘life’ is tough yada, yada….like he was some sort of victim. THe least he owed his kids was the truth……your daddy’s a crook

  • Everyday Guy

    Your democrat party.

  • Gregg

    Criminal politicians (who will be pardoned by Obama), yet another violation of our rights. The gov’t constantly violates our rights.
    They violate the 1st Amendment by caging protesters and banning books like “America Deceived II”.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by allowing TSA to grope you.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars.
    Impeach Obama, support Ron Paul.
    Last link of “America Deceived II” before it is completely banned:

  • sauntom

    Show’s his true classless colors, equating military service to a prison sentence. No wonder hardly any of these “elites” have ever served a day in the military and do not know what the true meaning of personal sacrifice in the service of others is all about.

  • janice

    He obviously dyes his hair. Will he be allowed to dye it while in prison?

  • homeeducators

    “But the sad reality is that’s a prison that I have to walk into shortly.”

    “sad reality”?

    Sad for your fellow inmates and guards.

    What a miserable, obnoxious wretch to be around 24/7.

    At least the guards get to go home.

    Blago IS home — until the Obamessiah pardons him…

  • Sam Von Stone

    Why include the address of his daughter’s school? It must be difficult knowing that the only reason you’re a “journalist” is because you’re inherently sleazy. I’ll wager it’s more difficult on your family.

  • Justus

    Blago really needs to sing before he gets waxed, unless he has some pardon deal already set up with Obama.

  • John Malverne

    —- inexplicably, terrible things happen

    There’s nothing “inexplicable” about your crimes. You are guilty of using the power of the state to enrich yourself personally, through bribery and shakedowns.

    You will not be missed.

  • Toonces

    Obummer will likely pardon his fellow partner-in-slime.

  • NoOneWins

    For his daughters, let him go free.

  • EDK

    What an A-hole to compare life behind bars to serving in the military…what a schmuck!!! Enjoy your time serving…crook!

  • Jeff Sheaffer

    14 years in prisonand he took the arrows for Obama, DEADFISH and Jesse Jackson Jr. He knows all the dirt on Obama and he silent? This is another dangerous Chicago crook. He hasn’t told anyting or wrote a book about dirty Chicago politics and Obama Come on! DEADFISH has soemting on Blago to keep his mouth shut!

  • Fawell: First Day In Prison ‘Rude Awakening To Change In Life’ « CBS Chicago

    […] Blagojevich reported to prison at FCI Englewood in Littleton, Colo., on Thursday to begin his sentence for his conviction on 18 corruption charges. His attorney said it took only minutes before he was handcuffed and led away by prison officials. […]

  • Blago’s Chicago-To-Denver Flight: Autographs, Jokes, A Few Silent Moments « CBS Chicago

    […] And yet the former governor occasionally appeared pensive as he prepared to begin serving his 14-year sentence at (FCI) Englewood in Littleton, Colo. […]

  • Centurion

    14 years for lying to the FBI. Yet Barack Obama lies to the entire USA, 300MILLION people and he gets paid for it.

    I feel for Blago, no more hair dye!

  • Centurion

    14 years of prison for lying to the FBI. Obama lies to the entire USA and absolutely nothing happens to him. I feel bad for Blago…prison does not allow hair dye.

  • Sources: Blagojevich High-Fived Other Inmates On First Night In Prison « CBS Chicago

    […] Blagojevich reported to prison around 12:50 p.m. Chicago time Thursday. Earlier in the day, he took many opportunities to pose for pictures, sign autographs, and address reporters as he made his way from his Ravenswood Manor neighborhood home in the early morning to O’Hare International Airport, onto his American Eagle flight, and out into the Denver International Airport. […]

  • Former Blagojevich Chief Of Staff Harris To Learn Fate « CBS Chicago

    […] Blagojevich began his 14-year sentence at the FCI Englewood federal prison in Littleton, Colo., on T… He was convicted last year of 18 counts of corruption, including trying to sell President Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat. Share this No comments // […]

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