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Illinois' Rod Blagojevich, with small wave, enters federal prison

March 15, 2012|By Michael Muskal

With a final wave from the parking lot, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich walked into the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood in Littleton, Colo., on Thursday and began serving his sentence of 14 years in prison for his conviction on corruption charges.

Blagojevich did not go gently into what is expected to be years out of the  limelight he once inhabited so fully. Every step -- beginning with the morning's departure from his Chicago home, to the flight, to an unexpected stop for lunch -- was fully documented by local reporters who have long feasted on the charismatic politician.

In video footage at the end of the trail, Blagojevich is seen walking slowly from the parking lot, carrying a knapsack. He was accompanied by two of his attorneys as he gave a weak wave caught by photographers above in a helicopter.

Earlier, the former governor and sometime reality television star had boarded a black SUV at the airport for the drive to Littleton, part of suburban Denver.

The party stopped at Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers in Littleton for a bit of lunch, Blagojevich's last meal before entering the prison.

“I think it's kind of surreal to him, but he seems in good spirits,” owner Brian Pyle told the Associated Press.

Pyle said he shook the former governor's hand as he left, telling him: “Stay strong.” He said Blagojevich thanked him.

According to NBCChicago, Channel 5, Blagojevich earlier posed for a photos at the restaurant, where a woman said, “You're the guy from 'The Apprentice.'"

Blagojevich was fired from the reality program by host Donald Trump.


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