September 13, 2017 01:24 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Blagoveich breaks silence after 5 years in prison

Blagoveich breaks silence after 5 years in prison

Five years after going to prison for political corruption, the ex-governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich has spoken out for the first time about how he's getting through a 14-year prison sentence.

More than five years after being sent to prison, disgraced politician Rod Blagojevich is speaking out for the first time. 

Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, was arrested in 2008 and later sentenced to 14 years for corruption after he attempted to sell President Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat in exchange for political favors.

He's opened up in new interviews with Chicago magazine and NBC 5 Chicago about what's sustained him since he began his sentence in 2012 at the Federal Correctional Institution, Englewood in Colorado.

More than five years after being sent to prison, disgraced politician Rod Blagojevich, 60, is speaking out for the first time. The former governor of Illinois (pictured with wife Patti in December 2011) was arrested in 2008 and later sentenced to 14 years for corruption after he attempted to sell President Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat in exchange for political favors

More than five years after being sent to prison, disgraced politician Rod Blagojevich, 60, is speaking out for the first time. The former governor of Illinois (pictured with wife Patti in December 2011) was arrested in 2008 and later sentenced to 14 years for corruption after he attempted to sell President Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat in exchange for political favors

Blagojevich says he sees his family on average three times a year. 'What sustains me during this very difficult long hard trial is the love I have for my children and my wife Patti,' he said (From left to right: Blagojevich, daughter Amy, wife Patti, and daughter Annie in May 2010)

Blagojevich says he sees his family on average three times a year. 'What sustains me during this very difficult long hard trial is the love I have for my children and my wife Patti,' he said (From left to right: Blagojevich, daughter Amy, wife Patti, and daughter Annie in May 2010)

The 60-year-old has never admitted guilt for his crimes, and during his original trial chose not to plead guilty, which could have landed him a lesser sentence.

'I chose to fight and not to surrender and to endure all that has come because, what other choice did I have?' he told Chicago. 

'I firmly believe that I never crossed any lines in seeking to raise campaign contribution …I believed I knew what the law was and that I followed it.'

Showing little sign of remorse, Blagojevich insists he does not hate 'the people who have done this to me'.

'Do you realize I have twice been given a longer prison sentence than Al Capone?' Blagojevich said to NBC 5.

'I've been given a prison sentence by the same judge who gave a mafia hit man...He acknowledged under oath [he was] a contract killer...My judge gave me a longer sentence than him.'

After 32 months in the low-security facility, he has since been transferred to minimum security and said he's been able to make a life for himself. 

Blagojevich, who is nicknamed 'Gov' in prison, has worked in the kitchen mopping floors, taught history classes to fellow inmates, and is now an orderly, where he makes $8.40 an hour.

'My jurisdiction was once all of the State of Illinois. Now I've got two hallways to clean,' he told Chicago.

'I feel like I was a very good governor, and now I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job on those floors.'

Blagojevich (pictured, May 2010) has never admitted guilt for his crimes and chose to plead not guilty during his original trial, which could have landed him a lesser sentence
Blagojevich (pictured, June 2010) has never admitted guilt for his crimes and chose to plead not guilty during his original trial, which could have landed him a lesser sentence

Blagojevich (left in May 2010, and right in June 2010) has never admitted guilt for his crimes and chose to plead not guilty during his original trial, which could have landed him a lesser sentence

Blagojevich, who is nicknamed 'Gov' in prison, has worked in the kitchen, taught history classes to fellow inmates, and is now an orderly, where he makes $8.40 an hour. He says he feels more connected to his faith, exercises regularly and has even made new friends (Pictured, Federal Correctional Institution, Englewood in Colorado)

Blagojevich, who is nicknamed 'Gov' in prison, has worked in the kitchen, taught history classes to fellow inmates, and is now an orderly, where he makes $8.40 an hour. He says he feels more connected to his faith, exercises regularly and has even made new friends (Pictured, Federal Correctional Institution, Englewood in Colorado)

He says he feels more connected to his faith, exercises regularly and has even made new friends. But perhaps most notably, his once dark brown hair has turned into a mane of silver. 

Of course, there are still difficulties - namely, missing his two daughters, Amy and Annie, and his wife, Patti. Blagojevich sees his family on average three times a year.

'What sustains me during this very difficult long hard trial is the love I have for my children and my wife Patti,' he said.

But despite the struggles, Blagojevich says he's optimistic about the future.

'Even if the world misunderstands you, criticizes you and say you're crazy, take a stand,' he said. 'Because you know what the truth is. And when you do it, my experience tells me, trust in God.'  

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