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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s supervised release ends early

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

A federal judge on Tuesday granted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich an early end to his two-year period of supervised release, marking an official end to a criminal case that rocked the state when the FBI knocked on the governor’s door 12 1/2 years ago.

The one-sentence order from U.S. District Judge Sara Ellis stated simply that “early termination of supervision is granted as to Rod Blagojevich,” though the underlying document was not available to the public. The judge noted in the order that the motion was agreed to by prosecutors.

The move comes 16 months after then-President Donald Trump commuted Blagojevich’s 14-year prison sentence, springing the former governor more than four years early. Trump had left intact, however, Blagojevich’s two-year period of supervised release — the federal equivalent of parole — which had been scheduled to expire in February 2022.

The terms of Blagojevich’s supervised release period, originally imposed by U.S. District Judge James Zagel, were standard, including not committing any new crimes, not leaving the jurisdiction without permission and checking in periodically with a probation officer, court records show.

Blagojevich, 64, was arrested in December 2008 on an array of corruption charges, including the proposed sale of President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat and trying to shake down executives from a children’s hospital and the horse racing industry for campaign contributions in exchange for official acts in office. He was convicted in June 2011 and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Since being released from the federal prison camp in Littleton, Colorado, Blagojevich has earned money by making videos on Cameo, a website where users pay for personalized video messages from celebrities, and has hosted a weekly podcast called “The Lightning Rod” for WLS-AM radio.

He was also disbarred from practicing law by the Illinois Supreme Court.

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