ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)- President Donald Trump has signed commutation papers freeing former Illinois governor and one-time "Celebrity Apprentice" contestant Rod Blagojevich from federal prison in Colorado. Blagojevich, known as Inmate No. 40892-424 since he went to prison in 2012, is serving a 14-year sentence for extortion, bribery and other wide-ranging political corruption.
"I did commute his sentence," said Trump on Tuesday. "So, he'll be able to go back home with his family after serving eight years in jail. That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence in my opinion and in the opinion of many others."
The Bureau of Prisons confirmed Blagojevich was released, but didn't not elaborate when he left.
A news conference is reportedly being held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Blagojevich's home.
Watch Blagojevich's interview at Denver International Airport Tuesday night.
Blagojevich's projected release date was 2024, factoring in two years of credit for good behavior. It is unclear when Blagojevich will be released from prison with the commutation.
"I thought he was treated unbelievably unfairly," Trump told reporters last summer about Blagojevich. "I'm thinking about commuting his sentence very strongly."
Blagojevich, a Democrat, filed paperwork in June 2018 asking Trump to commute his 14-year prison term for corruption.
"I think I'm a very different person and I think I've become someone who has learned a lot from the mistakes I have made," he told the judge during a re-sentencing hearing in 2016.
Many Illinois voters regarded Blagojevich's corruption as brazen. His convictions included attempting to extort a Children's Hospital.
The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed some convictions in 2015, tying Blagojevich's bid to win a White House appointment for appointing someone to Obama's Senate seat. The three-judge panel upheld his convictions on allegations that he tried to swap the Senate appointment for campaign cash, finding that trading one job appointment for another does not break the law.
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