Rod Blagojevich begins 14-year jail term for corruption

image captionBlagojevich met supporters - and cameras - outside his home on Wednesday

Disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has reported to prison to begin his 14-year term for corruption.

Blagojevich, 55, was convicted in June 2011 after he attempted to sell President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

The married father will serve his time at the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood outside Denver, Colorado.

Blagojevich is the second consecutive Illinois governor to be convicted for corruption.

The Democrat, who appeared on a reality TV show during his case, was covered by camera crews as he left his Chicago home and went through security at the airport.

Menial jail job

"I'm leaving with a heavy heart, a clear conscience and I have high, high hopes for the future," said Blagojevich on Thursday as he left home.

"While my faith in things has sometimes been challenged, I still believe this is America; this is a country that is governed by the rule of law; that the truth ultimately will prevail," he said on Wednesday to an assembled crowd and reporters outside his home.

The former governor, who was heard on FBI wiretaps scoffing at a low-six figure salary, will work a menial prison job that pays 12 cents an hour.

Blagojevich's lawyers say they are working to appeal his sentence. Federal prison rules require inmates to serve 85% of their term before becoming eligible for early release.

He will spend his term in a low-security Colorado prison that also counts Jeff Skilling, Enron's former chief, as an inmate. Skilling is serving a 24-year sentence for fraud.

Most of the 1,000 inmates at FCI Englewood are in jail for drug offences, according to a US Bureau of Prisons spokesman.

Blagojevich was elected governor of Illinois in 2002 and served until 2009, when the state legislature threw him out of office following his arrest.

As governor, he was tasked under law with appointing someone to fill the Senate seat left vacant when Mr Obama won election to the White House.

In wire taps, Blagojevich was heard describing the Senate appointment as a "golden" opportunity.

He was also convicted of trying to extort campaign donations from business executives, and of soliciting bribes from racing officials.

One of his top fundraisers, Antoin Rezko, was sentenced in November to 10-and-a-half years in prison.

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