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Blagojevich Goes to Prison
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Rod Blagojevich, the former Governor of Illinois, is now filing the role of federal inmate 40892-424, now that his 14-year sentence has begun, this Wednesday. Blagojevich greeted the reporters who camped outside his home, wearing a dark blazer and a smile. A crowd of his fans and supporters showed up for his last statements before leaving.

“Saying goodbye is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “I’m leaving with a heavy heart, a clear conscience, but I have high, high hopes for the future. Among the hopes is that you guys go home and our neighbors can get their neighborhood back. I’ll see you guys when I see ya. I’ll see you around.”

And he waved from the backseat as the car pulled away, and said at the airport, “I better get on the plane, I don’t think they’re going to hold it for me.” He boarded a plane at the O’Hare International Airport, to head to Colorado where he had requested to serve his sentence.


Blagojevich, 55, is leaving behind his wife, Patti, and their two daughter, Amy, 15, and Anne, 8. Federal rules mandate that he must serve at least 85 per cent of his sentence to be eligible for parole.

Instead of sharing a big house with his wife, he will share a cell the size of a walk-in closet with 2 or 3 inmates. Where he once scoffed at earning a six-figure salary as beneath him, he will now do menial work at 12 cents an hour. Instead of giving orders as governor, he will be taking orders to clean toilets and doing dishes.

“He’s going to be doing a lot of, `yes sir’ and `no sir,“’ said another Illinois inmate, a city clerk sentenced to two years in 2006, Jim Laski. “It’s a humbling, humiliating experience. But you have to take it.”

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“You say you were once the governor of Illinois — no one gives hoot,” said Jim Marcus, an attorney from Chicago. “Prisoners are going to say, `You’re in the same boat as me, pal. Now go clean the toilettes.“’

Nevertheless, Blagojevich remains hopeful and positive:

“While my faith in things has sometimes been challenged, I still believe this is America, this is a country that is governed by the rule of law, that the truth ultimately will prevail,” he said as he addressed his audience outside his home. “As bad as it is, (this) is the beginning of another part of a long and hard journey that will only get worse before it gets better, but … this is not over.”

Blagojevich is seeking to either reverse, or at least lesson his sentence, and maintains that he never knew he was breaking any laws.


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