Rod Blagojevich says he's a "freed political prisoner" after President Donald Trump commuted his prison sentence on Tuesday. The former Illinois governor was convicted of corruption for attempting to sell former President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.
Trump commuted Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence after the former governor had served eight years in prison. Blagojevich appeared as a contestant on Trump's Celebrity Apprentice television show. The two men have remained friends.
Blagojevich, who is a Democrat, praised Trump and called himself a "Trumpocrat."
"He didn't have to do this," Blagojevich said. "He's a Republican president. I was a Democratic governor. Doing this does nothing to help his politics."
Blagojevich held a press conference outside his Chicago home on Wednesday morning. As he spoke, he repeatedly wiped blood from his chin with tissue and apologized to the news media, saying he cut himself while shaving.
"I'm bruised, and I'm battered and bloody," he said. "Long time since I shaved with a normal razor and it takes a little bit of practice. Sorry about this blood."
His wife, Patti Blagojevich, and their two daughters stood beside him as he spoke to reporters. He marveled at how tall his youngest daughter had grown. She was 8 when he went to prison.
Blagojevich, 63, was the Illinois governor from 2003 until he was impeached and removed from office in 2009. He was convicted of trying to sell Obama's Senate seat to Obama's "preferred candidate #1" Valerie Jarrett.
Blagojevich allegedly tried to curry favors from Obama in exchange for appointing Jarrett to Obama's vacant Senate seat.
Trump granted clemency to 11 convicted felons on Tuesday, including Blagojevich and junk bond kingpin Michael Milkin.
Trump has not ruled out pardoning his longtime friend and advisor Roger Stone after he is sentenced in federal court on Thursday.