CHICAGO (CBS) — President Trump on Tuesday commuted the corruption sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.
Here is what you need to know:
- The decision comes nearly eight years into Blagojevich’s 14-year sentence for corruption, including attempting to collect campaign cash for an appointment to the U.S. Senate, vacated by President Obama in 2008. He also was convicted of shaking down the horse racing industry and the CEO of a children’s hospital. And, the feds said, he lied to cover it all up.
- Trump called the sentence “a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence in my opinion, and in the opinion of many others.”
- It’s unclear exactly when Blagojevich would be released from the federal prison outside Denver, Colorado where he is incarcerated.
- Trump had repeatedly hinted at showing leniency to Blagojevich since taking office, but did not act until Tuesday.
- After two trials in 2010 and 2011, Blagojevich was convicted of 18 corruption counts, including charges he tried to sell an appointment to former President Barack Obama’s Senate seat. He reported to prison in March 2012 to begin serving a 14-year sentence.
- In a statement, the former federal prosecutors who handled Blagojevich’s case — former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his former assistants Reid Schar, Chris Niewoehner, and Carrie Hamilton, who is now a judge — said the courts repeatedly have reviewed Blagojevich’s case, and found the evidence of multiple corruption charges “overwhelming.”