CHICAGO (CBS) — As President Barack Obama delivers his farewell address in Chicago next week, supporters of imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich plan to hold a vigil asking the president to commute Blagojevich’s 14-year corruption sentence.
“We’re hoping that the president will have mercy, and will consider letting Rod Blagojevich come home to his two daughters,” said activist Ziff Sistrunk, who is organizing the vigil outside the former governor’s home in Ravenswood.
SIstrunk said the 14-year sentence Blagojevich received was unreasonable for his crimes.
“Fourteen years for just touching the cookie jar? He really never got his arm in the cookie jar, he only touched it,” Sistrunk said.
Obama has granted 1,176 commutations and 148 pardons – fewer pardons than some presidents, but more commutations than any other, according to the White House.
Blagojevich’s wife, Patti, noted Obama didn’t say no when asked about a possible commutation earlier this week.
If Obama does not commute Blagojevich’s sentence, the governor could still get leniency after President-elect Donald Trump takes office. Blagojevich was a contestant on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2010, after he was kicked out of office, not long before his first trial.
Blagojevich has served nearly five years of his 14-year sentence.