President Donald Trump is again speaking out about a potential commutation of the prison sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, saying that his administration is still “strongly” considering it.
In a press availability prior to a speech in New Hampshire Thursday night, the president said that he believes Blagojevich was “harshly sentenced,” and that he wanted to gauge the feelings of members of both parties about a possible commutation of the disgraced governor’s sentence.
“We’re looking at it,” he said. “I feel very badly. I think he was very harshly sentenced, but we’re looking at it very strongly. People feel very strongly about that. I floated it and I wanted to see where the Democrats stood, where the Republicans stood. People feel very strongly about Rod Blagojevich’s sentence. He’s been in there for seven and a half years. That’s a long time and what he did was terrible, but it’s a long time.”
Blagojevich has served more than seven years of a 14-year prison sentence after he was convicted of trying to sell the Senate seat of then-President-Elect Barack Obama. The former governor has gone through numerous potential appeals and his wife Patti has appealed directly to the president in interviews on Fox News.
Timeline: The Legal Roller-Coaster Ride of Rod Blagojevich
The possibility of a commutation has drawn criticism from members of both political parties, with numerous prominent Democrats and Republicans opposing the move. Even still, others are in support of ending the former governor’s sentence, including the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Representative Bobby Rush.
While all of the commutation drama is swirling, the state of Illinois is looking to prevent Blagojevich from practicing law, as the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a complaint seeking to make the indefinite suspension of his law license permanent.
Blagojevich is already prevented from holding public office in the state of Illinois as a result of his removal from office.