Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was impeached in 2009 and spent eight years in jail after being convicted of corruption, told Newsmax Wednesday that he has “a big fight ahead” to run for an elected office in Illinois again.
“I have a big fight in court. It's going to be a hard battle, but I didn't break a law across a single line,” Blagojevich, a Democrat, said during “The Chris Salcedo Show" Wednesday.
“I wouldn't give in to what those people wanted me to say. I resisted. I fought and was defiant. They threw me in prison for 14 years for political conversations initiated by then President-elect (Barack) Obama. A big lie was told that I was trying to sell President Obama's (Illinois) Senate seat. I was impeached and thrown out of office immediately because of that, with no due process.”
The ex-governor fell on the national stage shortly after then Democratic junior Sen. Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008.
Blagojevich was in the position to appoint someone to the soon to be vacated seat and was caught on a federal wiretap trying to parlay his choice with political contributions.
“I’ve got this thing (Obama’s Senate seat), and it’s … golden. And uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for … nothing,” Blagojevich said in the now famous exchange.
He was indicted on more than 20 counts of various campaign finance and other violations, and arrested on Dec. 9, 2008, then impeached by the state legislature a month later by two almost unanimous votes.
The state also passed legislation barring him from seeking state or local office in Illinois.
He was convicted on one count at his first trial, but the jury deadlocked on the remaining counts, causing a second trial that resulted in convictions on 18 more counts.
He was sentenced to 14 years in prison and started that sentence in 2012.
President Donald Trump, who felt his sentence was “tremendously powerful, ridiculous,” because “nothing happened” in the phone call, commuted the sentence in February 2020, eight years later.
Blagojevich was freed from supervised release in June and filed his lawsuit this week to be able to again run for public office in Illinois.
“I could run for president the United States legally, but I can't run for alderman here in the City of Chicago,” he said. “I can run for the United States Senate, but I can't run for mayor of Chicago and only me, nobody else, and so I believe it's unconstitutional.”
He said he now considers himself a “Trumpocrat,” and would find it hard to run for office, if his suit is successful, with either of the two main parties.
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