President Donald Trump on Thursday said that he is thinking about commuting the sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
According to the White House, the president told reporters on Air Force One, “I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly.”
“A man who is a Democrat, not a Republican. He was given close to 18 years in prison. And a lot of people thought it was unfair, like a lot of other things. And it was the same gang—the Comey gang and the—all these sleazebags—that did it. And his name is Rod Blagojevich,” Trump said.
Blagojevich was convicted in 2010 and 2011 of 18 counts associated with his efforts to sell the U.S. Senate seat that Barack Obama would be vacating upon his inauguration as president.
President Trump continued, “And I am thinking about commuting his sentence. He’s been in jail for seven years, over a phone call where nothing happens. Over a phone call where—which, you know, he shouldn’t have said what he said, but it was braggadocio, you would say.
“So Rod Blagojevich—I am thinking very seriously about commuting his sentence so that he can go home to his family after seven years. You have drug dealers that get not even 30 days, and they’ve killed 25 people. They put him in jail … and he has many years left. And I think it’s very unfair,” Trump added.
Earlier in July, the Rev. Jesse Jackson urged President Trump to pardon Blagojevich, saying the 14-year prison sentence was “unfair and unnecessary.”
“Rod Blagojevich was a governor that cared for the people in the state of Illinois,” Jackson said in a letter that was co-signed by former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., his son. “We stand with his family as they seek a full pardon for a father and husband that has served most of a sentence that was far longer than the offense deserved,” according to Fox News.
Blagojevich had a petition for clemency in front of the president in 2018. His wife, Patti Blagojevich, said, “The president’s about justice and fairness, and we hope that he looks at Rod and sees how unfair and unjust what’s been done to our family.”
Includes reporting by the Associated Press