Blagojevich Timeline: From Politician To Prisoner To Commuted Sentence

Rod Blagojevich
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, with his wife Patti at his side, speaks to the media in 2012 before reporting to federal prison. President Donald Trump commuted his sentence Tuesday. M. Spencer Green / Associated Press
Rod Blagojevich
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, with his wife Patti at his side, speaks to the media in 2012 before reporting to federal prison. President Donald Trump commuted his sentence Tuesday. M. Spencer Green / Associated Press

Blagojevich Timeline: From Politician To Prisoner To Commuted Sentence

President Donald Trump commuted the 14-year prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Tuesday in what some are saying "sends the wrong message at the wrong time."

But what led to up to this point? Here's a look at Blagojevich's political career and legal sag a:

1993

Blagojevich begins a three-year stint as an Illinois state representative.

1997

 Blagojevich begins a six-year tenure in Congress.

2002

Blagojevich, billing himself an anti-corruption candidate, wins the Illinois gubernatorial election.

June 2004

Influential Republican Stuart Levine resigns from a powerful Illinois health board, marking the first public indication that the Blagojevich administration is under federal investigation.

June 2006 

In a letter, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald says he has witnesses to "very serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud" in the Blagojevich administration.

October 2006

Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a top Blagojevich fundraiser, is indicted on federal charges of using his political influence to squeeze kickbacks from companies seeking to do business with the state. Businessman Stuart Levine pleads guilty to mail fraud and money laundering as part of the Rezko scheme and agrees to cooperate.

Nov. 7, 2006

 Blagojevich is re-elected.

Dec. 9, 2007

Federal agents arrest Blagojevich on corruption charges at his Chicago home.

January 2009

The Illinois House votes 114-1 to impeach Blagojevich, the first Illinois governor in history to be impeached. The Illinois Senate votes unanimously to remove Blagojevich from office.

April 2, 2009

Blagojevich formally is indicted with five co-defendants — his last chief of staff, John Harris; fundraiser Christopher Kelly; a former chief of staff, Lon Monk; Springfield power broker William F. Cellini; and his brother, Rob Blagojevich.

Aug. 16, 2010

After deliberating 14 days, a deadlocked jury reaches a verdict on just one count — lying to the FBI. Prosecutors immediately announce in court they will retry Blagojevich. Prosecutors later drop all charges against Rod Blagojevich's co-defendant brother, Rob Blagojevich.

June 27, 2011

After nine days of deliberations, jurors find Blagojevich guilty of 18 counts, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old Senate seat. Jurors reached a not guilty verdict on one count and deadlocked on two others.

March 2012

Blagojevich reports to Colorado prison to begin a 14-year sentence.

July 2013

Blagojevich's lawyers appeal his corruption convictions and prison term.

July 2015

 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses just five of 18 counts and rules prosecutors did not prove Blagojevich broke the law when he tried to get a Cabinet position in President Barack Obama's administration in exchange for trying to appoint Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to Obama's old U.S. Senate seat. Counts in which he sought contributions in exchange for a Senate seat appointment were upheld. Court says Blagojevich can be retried or resentenced on the counts that remain.

Aug. 9, 2016

After prosecutors decline to retry Blagojevich, trial Judge James Zagel resentences him on the 13 counts that still stand. Even with the reduced number of convictions, Zagel refuses to lower the original 14-year sentence.

December 2016

Blagojevich submits a request to Obama to have his sentence commuted, but Obama does not act on the request before he leaves office in January 2017. Blagojevich again asks a U.S. appeals court to nullify his 14-year prison term and order a third sentencing hearing.

April 21, 2017

An appeals court in Chicago rejects the request from Blagojevich for another sentencing hearing.

May 31, 2018

President Donald Trump says he is thinking about clemency for Blagojevich and Martha Stewart. Both had connections to Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" reality television show.

April 16, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court for the second time in two years refuses to hear Blagojevich's appeal.

June 5, 2018

Blagojevich's lawyers file paperwork with the Justice Department asking Trump to commute his sentence.

Aug. 8, 2019

Trump tweets that the White House is still reviewing the possibility of commuting Blagojevich's sentence. Trump broaches the issue several times in proceeding months. But amid pushback from Republicans and Democrats, the prospects of a pardon appear to diminish.

Feb. 18, 2020

Trump commutes the 14-year prison sentence of Blagojevich, calling the sentence “ridiculous.”