Ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich has arrived at the federal prison in Colorado where he will begin serving a 14-year sentence for corruption.
With two of his lawyers beside him, Blagojevich arrived at the entrance to the low-security federal prison near Littleton, Colo., at about 12:50 p.m. Chicago time.
He had approached the prison earlier, but then headed to a lunch spot for a final meal before he surrendered. He ordered a double patty melt, fries and a soda but didn’t finish the meal, according to Josh Andreakos, general manager of Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.
In what has become a familiar scene in the three years since Blagojevich was taken out of his home in handcuffs by federal agents, the former governor had bounded down the stairs of his Ravenswood Manor home hours earlier as cameramen, photographers and reporters crushed around him and well-wishers shouted encouragement.
Reporters shouted out questions as Blagojevich, dressed in a dark blazer and shirt with blue jeans, walked toward a waiting Chrysler sedan. “You are the best,” someone yelled. In a few moments, the crowd quieted down and Blagojevich made a brief statement.
“Saying goodbye is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” he said. “I’m leaving with a heavy heart, a clear conscience, but I have high, high hopes for the future. Among the hopes is that you guys go home and our neighbors can get their neighborhood back. I’ll see you guys when I see ya. I’ll see you around.”
Blagojevich was not accompanied by his wife, Patti, who wiped away tears the night before as he addressed the media. She and the couple’s two daughters did not step out of the house, though she could be seen through the windows and one of the two girls peeked out a window from time to time before her father pulled away.
With television helicopters in tow, Blagojevich headed off to O’Hare International Airport for a flight to Colorado, where he will serve his sentence as federal inmate 40892-424.
The Chrysler pulled up to the American Airlines terminal and Blagojevich got out and was met by someone with two copies of his book, which he signed. Then he headed for the doors of the terminal.
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