February 19, 2020

The long Fox News campaign of Rod Blagojevich’s wife urging Donald Trump to pardon her husband finally paid off for the couple Tuesday. “Seemed like a very nice person, don’t know him,” Trump said about the guy whose sentence he commuted today, “I watched his wife on television.”

Blagojevich was ultimately convicted on 17 of 20 corruption charges. Media Matters explains:

Some involved soliciting bribes in exchange for the U.S. Senate seat vacated upon President Barack Obama’s inauguration, while others dealt with schemes in which he demanded campaign donations in exchange for signing racetrack legislation, approving a transportation project, and approving funding for doctors at a hospital. After exhausting the appeals process, he sought to rehabilitate himself by claiming he had been the victim of overzealous investigators and prosecutors.

Blagojevich’s team followed in the footsteps of other would-be pardon-seekers by pursuing a Fox-centric PR strategy. His wife, Patti Blagojevich, made the rounds on Fox beginning in April 2018, appearing at least seven times on the network’s programming to date. She received a sympathetic platform from Fox hosts including Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Martha MacCallum, and Jeanine Pirro. These segments were not subtle -- Carlson asked her directly, “If you could speak to the president, what would you say?” And as she responded, the caption “Will Trump intervene in Blagojevich case?” flashed across the screen.

Apparently, seeing Patti Blagojevich on his favorite TV shows, made a bigger impression on Trump than the guy he pardoned. Speaking after the pardon, Trump said, “I watched his wife on television. I don’t know him very well. I met him a couple of times. He was on for a short while on The Apprentice years ago. Seemed like a very nice person, don’t know him.” Blagojevich was a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice in 2010, while he was awaiting trial.

Trump also falsely claimed that Blagojevich had been prosecuted by James Comey.

Trump surely gave great consideration to the details of the Blagojevich case before commuting his sentence – not. Other than the wife and Comey grudge, Trump said Blagojevich “served eight years in jail, there’s a long time to go, many people disagree with the sentence … Very far from his children. They’re growing older, they’re going to high school now and they rarely get to see their father outside of an orange uniform. I saw that and I did commute his sentence.”

Watch the corruption above, via Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz.

Published with permission of NewsHounds

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