Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Trump said that Blagojevich “Seemed like a very nice person” and that he chose to commute Blagojevich’s sentence because he is “very far from his children, they’re growing older. They’re going to high school now. They rarely get to see their father outside of an orange uniform.”
Rumors of a possible impending pardon for the disgraced former governor have been flying for months. Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison after attempting to sell Barack Obama’s then-vacated Senate seat in 2008.
Trump had previously said that although Blagojevich is a Democrat, the sentence was too harsh for just “being stupid.” Blagojevich has served seven years of the 14-year sentence.
Trump also confirmed at the same time that Eddie DeBartolo Jr. has received a full pardon after being convicted in 1998 of failing to report that the the-governor of Louisiana had extorted $400,000 from him.
Trump’s decision to grant a full pardon to DeBartolo prompted praise from legendary 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice. “I take my hat off to Donald Trump for what he did,” Rice said. “He [Debartolo] wanted us to win and I think he’s the main reason why we won so many Super Bowls.”