Trump Leaning Toward Pardoning Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

This March 14, 2012 file photo shows former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich autographing a 'Free Gov. Blago' sign for one of his supporters at his home in Chicago the day before Blagojevich was due to report to prison to begin serving a 14-year sentence on corruption charges. Blagojevich's lawyers submitted …
AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File

President Donald Trump once again said he is leaning toward pardoning former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D).

The president told a pool reporter on Wednesday that he thought the Illinois Democrat convicted on corruption charges had been mistreated, according to New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman.

“I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly,” Trump reportedly said. “He was given close to 18 years in prison. And a lot of people thought it was unfair, like a lot of other things — and it was the same gang, the Comey gang and all these sleazebags that did it. And his name is Rod Blagojevich”:

Haberman also noted that the president’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, has been an advocate for the jailed governor known simply as “Blago.”

Blago was convicted of trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat when Obama left the U.S. Senate to become president in 2008. The governor was forced to step down from his office in 2009. He was then convicted on a variety of charges and went to jail in 2012 to begin a 14-year sentence.

This week’s comment is not the first time the president has said he feels the former contestant of The Apprentice was given a sentence that was too steep. Just more than a year ago, Trump reported that he was considering a pardon for the one-time reality show participant.

“Eighteen years in jail for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know that many other politicians say,” Trump said in May last year. “I don’t know him other than that he was on The Apprentice for a short period of time.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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