CHICAGO — Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is back home in Chicago after his sentence for political corruption was commuted by President Donald Trump.
Reporters and onlookers were on hand Wednesday as the now silver-haired Blagojevich arrived at O'Hare airport hours after he left the gates of the Federal Corrections Institution Englewood south of Denver.
Blagojevich served more than eight years of a 14-year sentence for crimes that included seeking to sell an appointment to Barack Obama’s former Senate seat and trying to shake down a children’s hospital.
The president said the punishment imposed on the Democrat and one-time contestant on Trump's reality TV show "Celebrity Apprentice" was excessive.
Blagojevich was one in a long list of people who he suddenly pardoned or gave commuted sentences Tuesday. The list includes former New York City Police commissioner Bernie Kerik, who served three years for tax fraud, and financier Michael Milken, the “junk bond king” who pleaded guilty to violating U.S. securities laws.Trump also pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner convicted in a gambling fraud scandal.
Trump also commuted the sentences of several women more representative of the flood of requests that presidents typically receive. Judith Negron had been serving 35 years at a Florida prison for health care fraud, conspiracy and money laundering when she was released Tuesday.
TEGNA Staff contributed to this report.