Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich held his first scheduled press event since President Donald Trump commuted his sentence for political corruption.
The Democrat answered questions Wednesday outside his Chicago home about his future plans and whether he accepts any responsibility for the crimes that landed him in prison. A large sign hanging on a porch outside of his home expressed gratitude to the Republican Trump. It read, "Thanks Mr. President."
Blagojevich walked out of a federal prison in Colorado on Tuesday after serving eight years of a 14-year sentence for wide-ranging political corruption and just hours after Trump officially commuted his sentence, the Associated Press reports.
Among his first words to the press were that it had "been a long long journey."
Reporters and onlookers gathered around the family Wednesday as the now silver-haired Blagojevich spoke. Throughout the comments, Blagojevich, standing alongside his wife and daughters, dabbed blood from his chin after cutting himself shaving before walking out to reporters.
Blagojevich told reporters, "we want to express our most profound and everlasting gratitude to President Trump." He said, "this is an act of kindness and I also believe it's the beginning of a process to turn an injustice into a justice.
Onlookers held signs, with Blagojevich signing one which was a huge image of his face.
Blagojevich arrived at O'Hare airport hours after he left the gates of the Federal Corrections Institution Englewood south of Denver. He served served prison time for crimes that included seeking to sell an appointment to Barack Obama’s former Senate seat and trying to shake down a children’s hospital.
The president said the punishment imposed on the Democrat and one-time contestant on Trump's reality TV show "Celebrity Apprentice" was excessive.