Rod Blagojevich is due to report to federal prison Thursday to begin serving a 14-year sentence. The former Illinois governor made a very public goodbye Wednesday evening.
LISTEN: Blagojevich’s full statement
With his wife, Patti, tearful and silent at his side, Blagojevich stood outside his home just after 5 p.m. He timed it perfectly for the 5 o’clock news.
“It’s hard for me to say that I have to go to prison. That’s a hard word for me to say,” he said.
His 12-minute statement included a campaign-style list of accomplishments, including health insurance expansion and free transit rides for seniors.
“When I became governor, I fought a lot,” Blagojevich said. “And maybe I fought too much. And maybe one of the lessons to this whole story is that you gotta be maybe a little bit more humble.”
Blagojevich said he accepts the jurors’ decision but has “great trust” in his appeal of the verdict.
“We have faith in the future, faith in the rule of law, and we have faith in God that right ultimately will make might,” he said.
Supporters brought signs with messages like “FREE BLAGO,” which some asked him to autograph as he headed up the stairs to his front door. He signed them and shook hands for another half hour.