0638 GMT April 03, 2020
Speaking to Chicago TV station WGN-TV, Blagojevich said he was "grateful" to Trump, USA Today reported.
"He didn’t have to do this, he’s a Republican president and I was a Democratic governor. I’ll have a lot more to say tomorrow.” Blagojevich, 63, told WGN-TV in an interview on the Denver airport tram on his way out of Colorado.
Blagojevich, a Democrat and one-time contestant on "The Celebrity Apprentice," had been serving a 14-year sentence in a Colorado federal prison. He was convicted in 2011 of federal charges of using his powers as governor to extract campaign money and other political favors in exchange for naming a successor to fill the Illinois Senate seat left open when Barack Obama became president, but Trump objected to the length of his sentence.
"He served eight years in jail – a long time," Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. "Many people disagree with the sentence."
"I didn’t do the things they said I did," the former governor said to WGN-TV as he arrived in Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Blagojevich shook hands and signed autographs with supporters as he left the airport and walked into a white van.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said in a Twitter post Trump "abused his pardon power in inexplicable ways to reward his friends and condone corruption," adding his predecessor's pardon sent "the wrong message at the wrong time."
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