Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois who was sent to prison on corruption charges, is finally getting out of lockup after having his sentence commuted by President Donald Trump.
"I did commute his sentence, so he'll be able to go back home with his family after serving eight years in jail. That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence in my opinion, and in the opinion of many others," Trump said to reporters before boarding Air Force One.
Since 2012, Blago has been serving as an inmate in the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood, a low-security prison in unincorporated Jefferson County. Political observers expected Blagojevich, who was convicted of trying to sell Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat, to be able to leave his current digs in Colorado in 2024.
Now that he's on his way out, here are some highlights of Blago's time in metro Denver:
Just before starting his 14 year prison sentence, Blagojevich stopped by the newly opened Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Littleton for his last meal. The former governor ordered a patty melt, which he didn't have the appetite to finish, according to the Atlantic. Blago also posed for photos with local high-schoolers who were chowing down on some grub.
Going to prison involves sacrificing luxuries of the outside world. For Blagojevich, that meant losing out on the chance to dye his hair. Blagojevich entered FCI Englewood with his trademark mane of black hair, only to see it go completely grey. Luckily for Blago, he still has a full head of hair that he can dye whichever color he likes when he gets out.
Since late 2015, Blagojevich has shared a prison with Jared Fogle, the disgraced Subway spokesperson serving a fifteen-year prison sentence for possessing child pornography and traveling to have sex with a minor. Fogle moved to FCI Englewood so that he could participate in a sex-offender treatment program that has a reputation for being the best of its kind in the federal system.
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Early on in his sentence, Blagoveich started performing as the lead singer of a band called the Jailhouse Rockers. Together with "an accomplished musician named Ernie," Blagojevich performed at a June 2013 GED graduation ceremony and again at a July 4 celebration, according to court filings. After these two performances, Ernie was released, leading to the band's breakup. Blagojevich's lawyer, Leonard Goodman, is unsure whether Blago continued playing after the band broke up.
Working while locked up
Blagojevich has worn a variety of different hats while serving his sentence. He's worked in the kitchen warehouse, the library, and even served as a tutor. He has taught both Civil War history and World War II history, according to Goodman. Additionally, the Democratic politician has tutored inmates who are about to get released in how to succeed at job interviews.