It was one year ago Friday that ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich reported to prison. He’s one year into a 14-year sentence for political corruption, the length of which is under appeal. He is serving his time at the Englewood Federal Correctional Institution in Littleton, Colorado.
Robert Blagojevich, the ex-governor’s brother, believes that Rod is not really a criminal: Had the FBI allowed the U.S. Senate appointment to play out, he says, no crime would have been committed. “Had he been allowed to follow through with the direction that the FBI and the Justice Department saw that he was gonna take, the criminal case that they felt that they might have been building on him would have fallen apart, because in no way did Rod have any intent to commit a crime or do anything improper,” he said.
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Robert Blagojevich says his brother but the brakes on the idea of soliciting campaign contributions in exchange for an appointment to the Senate in 2008 when he learned it would be illegal, and instead, at the time of his arrest, was plotting a political move involving Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
However, the U.S. Senate appointment – to fill the vacancy created when Barack Obama was elected president – wasn’t the only offense that prosecutors charged. Blagojevich was also convicted of shaking down a hospital president and a racetrack owner for campaign contributions in exchange for favorable action on legislation.
Robert Blagojevich was a co-defendant with his brother at one point, but charges against him were dropped. He lives in Tennessee. He declined to say whether he has visited his brother or how he is doing.