LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS) — Deposed Gov. Rod Blagojevich is adjusting to a new lifestyle in prison, but he apparently hasn’t lost his taste for political grandstanding.
Sources tell CBS 2 that Blagojevich was high-fiving other inmates at dinner Thursday night – his first at the FCI Englewood federal prison in Littleton, Colo.
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.
After driving past the prison a few times, he made his final comment upon stopping at Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers in Littleton.
“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
At the restaurant, Blagojevich ordered a patty melt, fries and soda, but gave most of his food away to some students at another table.
“He seemed like he was in good spirits,” Freddy’s general manager Josh Andreakos told WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller. “He went around and shook hands and talked to a few people and then left.”
Now behind bars for many years to come, Blagojevich’s day starts before dawn. He will work for eight hours.
If he’s lucky, Blagojevich will get a job in the mess hall and earn about $320 a month.
But if he wants to talk on the phone, he will have to pay for it, and visits are limited to 300 minutes a month.
Blagojevich has got a top bunk in an East Unit dorm room.
He has been forced to trade his trademark tailored suits for a beige uniform and blue shoes.
Fawell, who spent 4 1/2 years in prison, said Blagojevich will have to learn to keep his mouth shut; prison is about doing your time and flying under the radar.
After his second trial last month, Blagojevich was convicted of 18 counts of corruption, including allegations that he tried to sell President Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison by U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel in December.