GOP lawmaker: Obama should shorten Blagojevich's sentence

A Republican lawmaker from Crystal Lake says President Barack Obama should in his remaining day in office shorten convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's federal prison sentence.

"I am just going to put this out there ... Blagojevich didn't deserve 14 years," state Rep. Barbara Salvi Wheeler wrote on Facebook Wednesday. "If Obama can do one thing right on his way out ... shortening his sentence could be it."

Blagojevich, a Chicago Democrat, was impeached in 2009 by the Illinois General Assembly. In 2011, he received a 14-year prison sentence after being convicted on numerous corruption charges, some of which stemmed from a scheme in which he attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat Obama vacated after becoming president.

In between, Blagojevich made the rounds on talk shows and reality TV programs, including on "Celebrity Apprentice," where he was fired by now-President-elect Donald Trump.

After the U.S. Appellate Court overturned a number of Blagojevich's convictions, U.S. District Judge James Zagel last summer ruled that the governor's 14-year sentence would stand. Blagojevich is serving his time at a federal prison in Colorado.

The White House has announced in recent days that Obama will shorten the sentences of more than 200 inmates, as well as pardon more than 60 people. More announcements are expected Thursday.

Wheeler, who declined to comment further beyond her Facebook post, is the only Republican so far to make public statements about Blagojevich. Several Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, have also expressed support for a shorter sentence.

Blagojevich's wife, Patti, has noted in recent days that "we still have time."

"Please keep up the good wishes," she posted on Facebook.

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Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich stands fourth from left, next to President-elect Donald Trump, in a publicity shot for "Celebrity Apprentice" in 2010. NBC
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