CHICAGO (Reuters) – Rod Blagojevich, a damaged-down Illinois governor forced out of space of labor for making an strive to peddle Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat, thanked President Donald Trump on Wednesday for commuting his penitentiary sentence and again proclaimed his innocence.

The 63-year-veteran Democrat used to be impeached and away from space of labor in 2009, and convicted two years later of wire fraud, extortion and soliciting bribes while serving as governor.

One among more than a half of-dozen people pardoned or granted clemency by Trump on Tuesday, Blagojevich used to be released on the the same day after serving eight years of a 14-year sentence.

“We must order our most profound and eternal gratitude to President Trump,” Blagojevich advised newshounds and habitual onlookers as he stood beginning air his dwelling on Chicago’s North Aspect, flanked by his wife and two daughters. Nearby used to be a signal finding out “Thank You Mr. President” and a heart balloon swaying within the roam.

Trump on Tuesday called Blagojevich’s sentence “tremendously principal, ridiculous.” The president’s resolution used to be criticized by each Democrats and Republicans, along with some who said that these convicted of political corruption must be held accountable.

Talking to the crowd of about 200 on Wednesday, Blagojevich recited a poem, quoted from scripture and talked referring to the appealing living stipulations in penitentiary.

“I am returning dwelling on the present time from a prolonged exile, a freed political prisoner,” Blagojevich said.

Blagojevich referred to himself as a “Trumpocrat.”

“It’s been a prolonged, prolonged dawdle,” he said.

One among the onlookers, Thurgood Papadopalous, held a expansive poster of Blagojevich’s face however disparaged the damaged-down governor to a reporter.

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“He’s a crook. Potentially may well perhaps mute bear stayed in penitentiary,” Papadopalous, 33, said.

Blagojevich regarded on Trump’s “Celeb Apprentice” reality television explain in 2010 while anticipating trial.

“He didn’t ranking any money. He’s a upright man,” said supporter Milan Kostic, 65.

Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago; Writing by Brendan O’Brien; Bettering by Scott Malone and Matthew Lewis

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