1 year later, wife says Blagojevich teaching history - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

1 year later, wife says Blagojevich teaching history in prison

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

One year ago, Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years behind bars after his conviction on federal corruption charges.

On Friday, his wife Patti reflected on the past year. She said this past year has flown by, she has visited her husband many times, and she and their two girls speak with him every day on the phone. She said they continue to remain hopeful about the appeals process, but clearly this has been a trying year.

Rod Blagojevich left Illinois with a great deal of fanfare and a great deal of time behind bars ahead of him, but his attorneys said the hopes the convicted former governor held one year ago have not dimmed.

"He's the eternal optimist and he believes and I believe that he's gonna be vindicated on this and they're gonna send it back for a new trial and a new sentencing," Attorney Sam Adam Jr. says.

On her Facebook page, Patti Blagojevich wrote a long note to friends thanking them for their support, saying:

"I cannot call it the one year anniversary as the word anniversary implies celebration and all that we have been left with is an aching hole in our lives," Patti writes.

Walking through O'Hare to catch a plane to enter a Colorado prison one year ago, Rod said this was the hardest thing he's gone through.

"There's a hole in my heart," Rod said. "I said goodbye to my children, it's the hardest thing I've ever had to do."

During the two hour flight from O'Hare to Denver, Blagojevich smiled and joked with reporters, showing FOX 32's Craig Wall a book he was reading on King David.

His mood grew more somber as landing approached, but once there, Blagojevich still had two hours to kill before his noon reporting deadline, so he stopped in a local burger joint. While there, he reflected on his next and final stop.

"I have a hard time even saying that word, that I have to go to prison," Blagojevich said. "I keep thinking euphemistically at a place, I look at it like a military base, like I'm reporting to do military service, that's a little game I play with myself."

Patti Blagojevich wrote that her husband passes his time running miles and miles around the quarter mile track on the prison grounds, he's learning to play guitar and teaching a class on the Civil War.

"At that institution you have Yankees and Rebels and it was a full house and they literally had to, it was the first time in the history of the institution, that they had a class that was closed," Blagojevich's attorney Sheldon Sorosky says.

The once popular governor, whose Ravenswood Manor neighborhood often turned into a media circus in the years after his arrest--and particularly on the day before he left for prison--now has a much different look, and neighbors haven't missed the commotion.

"It's been very quiet," Rod's neighbor Clare Morichika says. "I think people have enjoyed not having the media here and all the hullabaloo in the neighborhood."

Patti Blagojevich wrote on Facebook that she and the couple's two daughters talk to Rod daily and have visited him many times.

"...what really gets him through is our visits and the faith that in the end this tremendous injustice will be righted. That we will be a family together again soon," she said.

Blagojevich, according to his attorney, remains upbeat.

"He's a model of courage," Adam Sr. says. "The only thing he feels bad about, of course, obviously he misses his family terribly, no doubt about that."

Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison, but according to the Federal Bureau of Prison's website, his expected release date is May 23, 2024, which is a little more than 11 years from now.

His attorneys plan to visit him with an update on the appeals process, but according to Patti Blagojevich's Facebook post, they won't know anything on the appeals for at least six months.

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