Trump considering commuting Rod Blagojevich’s sentence

WASHINGTON (AP) —President Donald Trump says he’s considering commuting the sentence of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and pardoning Martha Stewart.

Blagojevich recently had an appeal request rejected by the Supreme Court for the second time. The ex-governor is currently serving a 14-year sentence on corruption convictions with a scheduled release date in  2024.

Trump's comments came aboard Air Force One on Thursday after he announced on Twitter that he planned to pardon conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza.

Trump tells reporters that Blagojevich said something dumb but that "lots of politicians" do and thinks his sentence is excessive.

The Democratic former governor began serving his 14-year prison sentence on corruption convictions in 2012. His scheduled release date is 2024. Blagojevich was also a contestant on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" reality television show in 2010.

 

Blagojevich's attorney, Lauren Kaeseberg , said her client's  sentence was too harsh. Blagojevich's wife, Patti Blagojevich, also released a statement, saying she and the couple's two children have long awaited the day "when Rod could come back home where he belongs."

Blagojevich argued he engaged in run-of-the-mill politicking and never crossed legal lines. But prosecutors say he used his powers as governor to shake people down for campaign contributions, including a children's hospital.

Blagojevich went to prison in 2012. He was also convicted of trying to exchange an appointment to the U.S. Senate seat for campaign cash. The seat was vacated by Barack Obama when he was elected president in 2008.

Blagojevich was facing charges when he was on Trump's reality TV show, "Celebrity Apprentice," in 2010. As Trump "fired" Blagojevich as a contestant, he also praised Blagojevich for how he was fighting his criminal case, telling him: "You have a hell of a lot of guts."