President Donald Trump has announced he commuted the sentence for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He made the announcement at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to a group of reporters.
Blagojevich had been sentenced to 14-years in prison after being found guilty of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant when Barack Obama became president, CNBC reported. Blagojevich tried to trade money and favors for the position.
Trump told the reporters that the disgraced governor “served eight years in jail. It’s a long time to go,” CNN reported. Trump also tied Blagojevich’s prosecution to former FBI Director James Comey who is a friend of Patrick Fitzgerald, the US attorney in Illinois who prosecuted Blagojevich, a Democrat.
“It was a prosecution by the same people -- Comey, Fitzpatrick -- the same group,” the president said, according to CNN. Trump identified Fitzgerald as Fizpatrick when he spoke to reporters.
Trump had said that he was toying with the idea of using the clemency powers for Blagojevich in August and before, but conservatives in Congress fired back.
Blagojevich appeared on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” television show in 2010, CNN reported. Despite the connection, Trump said he didn’t know him well, but saw Blagojevich’s wife asking for clemency on television.
Blagojevich had been serving the sentence since 2013, CNBC reported.
Trump also pardoned former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, he announced to reporters.
Kerik, who was NYPD commissioner during 9/11, pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to investigators, both federal charges. He was sentenced to four years behind bars in 2009, CBS News reported.
Trump also pardoned billionaire Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers. DeBartolo pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges in 1998, CBS News reported.
Milken was sentenced to 10 years in prison and was fined $600 million, but the time behind bars was cut to two years after he cooperated with federal investigators, CNBC reported. Milken had pleaded guilty to violating U.S. securities laws, The Associated Press reported.
The presidential orders came days before adviser Roger Stone is expected to be sentenced on his conviction of seven charges of obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering, CNN reported. He has asked for a new trial.
When asked if he would consider pardoning Stone, Trump responded, “I haven’t given it any thought,” The New York Times reported.
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