CHICAGO — Rod Blagojevich has kept away from media interviews since he went away to prison for corruption. Until now.
Chicago magazine is touting an exclusive "His Life in Prison" interview with the disgraced former governor and NBC5 aired a report Thursday.
Here are six things to know from the interviews:
THE SENTENCE: The former governor says the reality of his situation hit home after a few days at the prison facility in Colorado when his case manager was going over his file with him.
"She says, ‘Well, your exit day is in May of 2024.’ This is March of 2012 when she says this. It was like Joe Frazier hitting Muhammad Ali with one of those left hooks to his body, right? ... I’m calculating in my mind, OK, I can be home by Christmas 2023—maybe not home, but to the halfway house.
“Do you realize, I have twice been given a longer prison sentence than Al Capone?” he says.
MAIL CALL: Blago gets mail, and not all of it is supportive. He talks about a woman, a former state worker, who was fired when Blagojevich took office. “She basically waits about 13 years to write me, and I’m in this deep, dark valley, and she says, ‘I hope you’re somebody’s you-know-what’ in prison jargon. It was kind of funny.”
THE CELL: He lives in what he calls the "high-rent district of the Federal Correctional Institution, Englewood — two-man units the size of office cubicles. Fellow inmates call him Dawg or govvie, "or sometimes they call me ‘G.’”
HIS JOB: He works as an orderly for $8.40 a month. “My jurisdiction was once all of the State of Illinois. Now I’ve got two hallways to clean,” he says. “I feel like I was a very good governor, and now I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job on those floors.”
LONELY? “Well, of course, yeah,” he says. “Years of loneliness and affliction, yearning for home, missing my family. But I’m OK. The sharpness of the pain that was so intense at the beginning — where sometimes you felt you would never feel anything but that pain — has with the passing of all these years, slowly and imperceptibly aged into a sadness that has found a home inside of me.
FAMILY: He talks with his wife Patti Blagojevich every day and sends his children emails. One was a prayer that he spent 20 hours on. "Then I called home, and no one said anything about the prayer. I asked Patti, ‘Did they get my prayer?’ She said, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘What did you think of it?’ She said, ‘It was long.’ ”
Blagojevich's wife posted on Facebook that the couple "decided to cooperate with Phil Rogers from NBC and David Bernstein from Chicago magazine."
"We are hoping to highlight the legal issues of our case," she said.
Blagojevich went to federal prison in 2012 after getting sentenced to 14 years for corruption. Numerous appeals have fallen flat, including efforts to reduce his sentence.
He's been serving his time in the federal penitentiary in Englewood, Colo., and it's been well reported that they don't allow hair dye. Blagojevich was well known for his dark, fluffy mane. It is now gray.