White House

Durbin on Blagojevich: '14 Years Was an Outrageously Long Sentence'

“I think 14 years was an outrageously long sentence, I’ll be honest with you,” Durbin said during the interview.

Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday that incarcerated former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence was excessive.

“I think 14 years was an outrageously long sentence. I’ll be honest with you,” Durbin told WGN Radio. “I think it should’ve been a shorter sentence.”

“Definitely, he should’ve gone to jail for what he did, but 14 years, in light of some other sentencing I’ve seen, is really hard to explain,” he added.

Blagojevich, who is currently serving his sentence at a low-security federal prison in Colorado, requested a commutation from President Barack Obama last month. The former governor had his initial 14-year sentence upheld during a re-sentencing hearing in August.

Many of Blagojevich’s criminal charges are related to his attempts to sell the Senate seat Obama vacated before being sworn-in as president. Durbin was a member of the Senate at the time.

On Tuesday, the White House announced 209 inmates whose sentences Obama is shortening in one of his final acts before leaving office on Jan. 20. Another 64 people also received pardons. Blagojevich was not among the group granted clemency Tuesday.

During the interview, Durbin wouldn’t comment directly on Blagojevich’s request for a commuted sentence.

"Rod Blagojevich did file the papers to be considered,” Durbin said during Tuesday's interview. “Whether he did it on time, I can’t say. And certainly the president and his staff are aware that the request has been made."

“I just can’t tell you how this will end. I’ve never spoken to the president directly about it,” he added.

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