Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich sues for right to run for office again

Blagojevich, who spent eight years in prison, is currently barred from running for governor again in Illinois

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich – a convicted felon who spent nearly a decade in federal prison – is going to court to be able to get his name back on the ballot.

The then-Democratic governor was arrested in 2008 and accused of corruption and campaign finance violations for seeking political contributions in return for Illinois' U.S. Senate seat left vacant after Sen. Barack Obama stepped down following his presidential election victory.

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Blagojevich was convicted in 2011 and had served eight years when his 14-year sentence was commuted by then-President Donald Trump in February 2020.

But the now-64 year old former governor is barred from running for office again. 

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wife Patti wave to supporters after a news conference outside his home Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Chicago. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump commuted his 14-year prison sentence for political corruption. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his wife Patti wave to supporters after a news conference outside his home Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Chicago. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump commuted his 14-year prison sentence for political corruption. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) (AP)

After the Illinois legislature impeached and removed Blagojevich from office following his arrest, the state Senate also passed a resolution preventing him from running for state and local office in the future.

Blagojevich charges that the vote by state lawmakers was unconstitutional, claiming he wasn’t allowed to call and question witnesses and alleges he was prevented from his right to offer potentially exculpatory evidence.

"I’m back from the dead. And it’s good to be alive again," the former governor told reporters outside a Chicago federal courthouse on Monday.

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Blagojevich said his case is "about the people’s right to choose their own leaders."

"I haven’t thought about running for office," he added. "But I am not going to rule out any options either."