Jail-Bound Blago Says Goodbye

Ex-gov holds public farewell before starting 14-year sentence
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2012 2:00 AM CDT
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich walks out of his home with his wife, Patti, to speak to the media in Chicago yesterday.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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(Newser) – Rod Blagojevich spent part of his last day as a free man saying farewell to the press and the public. The former governor of Illinois, who starts a 14-year sentence for corruption today, held a "public goodbye" outside his Chicago home. In a speech to journalists, neighbors, and well-wishers—some of whom waved "Free Blago" banners—Blagojevich touted his achievements as governor, and said he had "trust and faith" in the appeals process, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

"I have to go do what I have to go do, and this is the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “But it is the law, and we follow the law, and I will begin to do that tomorrow." He closed his remarks by saying, "I'll see you around," and spent the next hour signing autographs. The 55-year-old convict—the fourth of Illinois' last nine governors to be imprisoned—will report to a federal prison in Colorado today. He's expected to serve at least 12 years of his sentence, although he may get a year off for entering a substance abuse program. He was convicted of several charges, most of them linked to an attempt to "sell" President Obama's former US Senate seat, which Blago had the power to fill.

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