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On last day free, Blagojevich offers last words

On last day free, Blagojevich offers last words

(AP) On last day free, Blagojevich offers last words
By MICHAEL TARM
Associated Press
CHICAGO
Prison-bound former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Wednesday he has faith in his appeal and that his legal saga “is not over.”

Blagojevich spoke to crowds of reporters and well-wishers outside his Chicago home less than 24 hours before he’s due to report to a Colorado prison to begin serving a 14-year sentence for corruption.

With his wife by his side, Blagojevich said preparing to leave for prison is “the hardest thing I’ve ever done” and insisted that he did what he thought was right for Illinois, both as governor and as a congressman.

Blagojevich was convicted of 18 criminal counts during two trials, including charges the tried to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat.

He added that he always believed what he was doing “was on the right side of the law.”

More than 50 reporters crowded to hear the former governor as two television helicopters hovered overhead and a dozen TV trucks were parked along the street nearby. The former governor spoke for about 10 minutes after being greeted by chants of “free our governor.”

Some neighbors were signing a banner hung over a railing on his house that read, “Thanks Mr. Governor. We Will Pray.” As he made his way back inside his home, he signed autographs.

The 55-year-old father of two daughters is due to report to the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood in suburban Denver on Thursday.

Prison authorities haven’t confirmed where Blagojevich will be imprisoned. But he asked to go to the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood in suburban Denver.

The spotlight-loving Blagojevich, known for colorful speeches and a habit of quoting historical figures, timed his departing statement to begin at precisely 5:02 p.m. so it could appear live on the evening news.

His publicist even gave a two-minute warning via Twitter so newscasts could be ready.

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Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mtarm

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