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Does Rauner Support Trump Commuting Blagojevich's Sentence?

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner was asked Tuesday whether he would support a shorter prison sentence for Rod Blagojevich.

President Trump told reporters last week he thought Blagojevich was “very unfairly treated” and was thinking about commuting the former governor's 14-year sentence.

Asked about that, Rauner did not take a position one way or the other.

“Blagojevich’s case and behavior has been reviewed by judges — many judges, including the (U.S.) Supreme Court — by many legal experts, many attorneys,” Rauner told reporters. “They’ve all come to the conclusion that Blagojevich is where he belongs and he should stay where he’s at. So I’ll leave it at that.”

But that is not a universal view. The 14-year sentence has been characterized as excessive by a number of commentators, including law professors; Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin; and even former Gov. George Ryan, no fan of Blagojevich, who himself was sentenced to six-and-a-half-years.

While Rauner stopped short of saying he shared the view of the people who say Blagojevich “should stay where he’s at,” other Illinois politicians have been less reticent.

Durbin says the 14-year sentence was “way too long,” while Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says a commutation would undermine the integrity of the justice system.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.