Commutation of Blagojevich prison sentence on hold
The potential commutation of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's federal prison sentence has been put on hold amid White House officials' fears of public pushback, sources say.
Two sources told Fox News that on Thursday, Blagojevich, 62, made it to processing for his discharge from a federal prison in Littleton, Colo. However, a commutation was put on hold after a Trump administration official became concerned about opposition to the idea, which the president said he was "seriously" considering.
In a tweet, Trump said the issue was under review.
"Rod Blagojevich, the former Governor of Illinois, was sentenced to 14 years in prison. He has served 7 years. Many people have asked that I study the possibility of commuting his sentence in that it was a very severe one. White House staff is continuing the review of this matter," he posted.
The final step is known as "R&D," for "reception and discharge."
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The former Democratic governor is serving a 14-year sentence in connection with corruption charges. Federal prosecutors alleged he tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama and extort a hospital and a race track.
Trump called the sentence "unbelievably unfair" and pointed to former FBI Director James Comey's alleged role in Blagojevich's conviction.
“I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly; he was given close to 18 years in prison,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One last week. “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. “
Illinois Republicans are urging Trump to rethink the commutation.
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Tim Schneider, the GOP chairman for Illinois, said in a statement that officials found guilty should serve their full sentences, especially in a state where "corrupt, machine-style politics is still all too common."
Attorneys for the disgraced governor have called his sentence unfair but appeal efforts have fallen short.
Fox News editor Gerren Keith Gaynor and The Associated Press contributed to this report.