Blagojevich Asks President Obama For Commutation

(CBS) — Imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is asking the president to commute his corruption sentence.

The Justice Department Friday confirmed the application has been filed, joining requests from more than 13,000 other federal inmates seeking to reduce their sentences.

The U.S. Constitution gives the president the power to reduce a sentence or commute it to time served — weighing severity of sentence, the seriousness of the crimes and candor in the application.

The Justice Department will only confirm the filing, but the department’s Web site says commutation “has long been considered to be an extraordinary remedy that is rarely granted.”

Commutation is not a pardon, and does not affect guilt.

It is generally not granted if an appeal is pending — and the former governor’s attorney, Leonard Goodman, earlier this week asked the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals, in Chicago, for yet another sentencing hearing. The appeals court in July 2015 threw out convictions on five of 18 counts, but said the sentence was not unlawfully excessive.

The request comes four months after federal Judge James Zagel reinstated the former governor’s 14-year corruption sentence.

Blagojevich currently is expected to leave prison in May 2024.  If President Obama does not act on the petition before leaving office next month, President-elect Trump could consider it.

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