Trump commutes prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Trump commutes prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

In August, Trump said he was seriously considering commuting Blagojevich's 14-year sentence, calling it unbelievably unfair. Rod Blagojevich and pardoned former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, along with several others, on Tuesday.

President Trump commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of IL, the Democrat who was convicted of trying to essentially sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat for personal gain, and pardoned the financier Michael R. Milken and Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, the president announced on Tuesday.

He appeared on NBC's "The Apprentice" in 2009, which was then-hosted by Trump.

The White House also announced a pardon for Edward DeBartolo, the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers football team who pleaded guilty two decades ago for failing to report a crime.

The New York Times noted that by commuting the sentence, Trump would free Blagojevich from prison without wiping out the conviction. Fitzgerald is now a private attorney for another former Federal Bureau of Investigation director, James Comey, whom Trump dismissed from the agency in May 2017.

- June 5, 2018: Blagojevich's lawyers file paperwork with the Justice Department asking Trump to commute his sentence.

In a statement, the White House noted that Sheldon Adelson and Tom Barrack, longtime backers of Trump's campaign, were among those who advocated for clemency for Milken.

"I know who it is", Trump said.

On Trump's favourite news channel Fox News previous year, Blagojevich's wife, Patti, depicted her husband as the victim of over-zealous prosecutors, drawing parallels with the president's experience during the Mueller investigation.

Trump first floated the idea of commuting Blagojevich's sentence in May 2018, after pardoning conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza. As Trump "fired" Blagojevich as a contestant, he praised him for how he was fighting his criminal case, telling him: "You have a hell of a lot of guts".

"There are no words to express my appreciation and gratitude to President Trump", Kerik said in a statement.

At his second trial in 2011, Blagojevich testified, describing himself as a flawed dreamer grounded in his parents' working-class values. He said the hours of Federal Bureau of Investigation recordings were the ramblings of a politician who liked to think out loud. Jurors also convicted him for trying to extort a Chicago children's hospital for campaign cash.

- July 2015: 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses just five of 18 counts and rules prosecutors did not prove Blagojevich broke the law when he tried to get a Cabinet position in President Barack Obama's administration in exchange for appointing Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to Obama's old U.S. Senate seat.Counts in which he sought contributions in exchange for a Senate seat appointment were upheld.Court says Blagojevich can be retried or resentenced on the counts that remain. Blagojevich appeared via live video from prison during the 2016 resentencing and asked for leniency.

Several prominent Democrats have also lobbied for a shortened sentence, arguing that Blagojevich's punishment was too severe.

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