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Trump cuts prison sentence for Blagojevich, pardons others

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 19, 2020 - Duration: 02:23s

Trump cuts prison sentence for Blagojevich, pardons others

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had commuted the sentence of 63-year-old Rod Blagojevich, the former Democratic governor of Illinois convicted of corruption for trying to sell former President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Colette Luke has more.

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Trump cuts prison sentence for Blagojevich, pardons others

(SOUNDBITE) PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "So he'll be able to go back home with his family after serving eight years in jail that was a tremendously powerful ridiculous sentence in my opinion" President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had commuted the sentence of former Democratic governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich who is currently serving a 14-year sentence after being convicted of wire fraud, extortion and soliciting bribes while governor.

In 2009, Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office by state lawmakers after prosecutors said he had tried to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat that former president Barack Obama vacated after winning the 2008 presidential election.

While he awaited trial in 2010, the former governor was a contestant on Trump's Celebrity Apprentice TV show.

Trump, who was at Joint Base Andrews on his way to campaign trips in California and Nevada, said the former governor seemed like a nice guy... (SOUNDBITE) PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "I don't know him very well...I've met him a couple of times, he was on the Apprentince years ago..

He seems like a very nice person..." Blagojevitch was but one in a slew of individuals who had their sentences commuted or were pardoned by the Commander-in-Chief on Tuesday.

Many were white-collar criminals convicted of corruption.

They include former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik, who served three years on federal tax fraud charges before being released in 2013… And financier Michael Milken, known as the 'junk bond king' in the 1980s.

He was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison for securities fraud, but his punishment was later reduced to two years with a fine of 600 million dollars.

He has since established himself as a philanthropist, but he's banned from the securities industry for life.

(SOUNDBITE) PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "Mike Milken who has done an incredible job for the world, with all of his research for cancer and he suffered greatly...these are all people that I rely on recommendations.." Trump also commuted the sentences of two people convicted of drug charges, and another convicted of health care fraud.

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