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A Prison-Bound Blagojevich Delivers Defiant Final Remarks

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich leaves home with his daughter, Annie, before his scheduled address to reporters and his eventual departure for a medium-security facility in Littleton, Colo. He received a 14-year prison sentence on corruption charges.
Charles Rex Arbogast

Update at 6:17 p.m. ET. 'Hardest Thing I've Ever Had To Do':

A defiant Rod Blagojevich said going to prison is the "hardest thing I've ever had to do."

The disgraced former Illinois governor gave one final media conference, before reporting to prison tomorrow.

Blagojevich was flanked by supporters and hugged his emotional wife throughout his remarks. He talked about how hard this will be for his daughters and how bad he feels bad that he won't be there to help them out like his parents helped him out.

But he didn't apologize for the crimes he's been convicted of.

He said he was "on the side of the law" and that he taught his daughters that "in hard times... you have to live in your hope."

"We are appealing the case," he added. "This is not over. We have faith in the future, faith in the rule of law. ... I'll see you again."

This conference might be the last time we hear from Blagojevich for a while. He has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Our Original Post Continues:

A day before he begins serving his prison sentence, former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich will give one final press conference. As The Chicago Tribune puts it, talking into a microphone was, after all, one of his favorite things to do as governor.

The disgraced governor was sentenced to 14 years in prison back in December, after he was convicted of, among other things, trying to sell President Obama's vacated Senate seat.

Blagojevich, 55, is scheduled to speak at 5:02 p.m. CT, just in time for the newscasts to break into his speech during prime time.

The Tribune adds:

"Attorneys for the disgraced governor have said he wants to depart in a dignified way, without a media frenzy.

"Although that fueled speculation he'd try to slip out of Chicago undetected, his spokesman says Blagojevich never entertained that idea.

"Meanwhile, the hospital executive who kicked off the investigation that brought down Blagojevich says she's glad he's going to prison, though she feels sorry for his family. Pamela Davis says she holds Blagojevich responsible for dragging her and her hospital through "the sludge" of his corrupt administration."

We'll tune into the press conference and bring you some highlights when it happens.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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