(CHICAGO) — On the verge of spending the next 14 years of his life behind bars, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich told reporters on Wednesday that attempts to overturn his conviction on corruption charges were “not over.”
Blagojevich will begin serving his sentence on Thursday at a prison in Littleton, Colo., after being found guilty last June of trying to profit off the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Obama, as well as squeezing donors for campaign money.
Most of the 14 guilty verdicts were related to his attempts at selling Obama’s vacated Senate seat in 2008 to the highest bidder for money or political favors.
Through it all, Blagojevich had maintained his innocence and Wednesday was no different as he said, “Everything I talked about doing when it came to campaign fundraising and political horse trading I believed was on the right side of the law.”
Long before he was convicted, Blagojevich was kicked out of office by the state Legislature and then appeared as a contestant on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice.
Describing the next phase of his life as embarking on a “dark and long journey,” he admitted the most difficult part of his ordeal was how to explain to his children why he won’t be around them for a long time.
Blagojevich, 55, is one of a long line of crooked state politicians headed to jail. Between 1972 and 2006, the Chicago Sun Times estimates that 79 Illinois elected officials were found guilty on federal corruption charges, including his predecessor, Republican Gov. George Ryan, who was convicted in 2006.
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Ivaylo Vezenkov, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Pamela Brown, Jake Tapper and Dan Merica, CNN
Erin McClam, CNN