Would a President Trump commute the sentence of Rod Blagojevich?

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Next month, it'll be four years since Rod Blagojevich reported to prison.

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide soon whether to hear his appeal, and the death of Justice Antonin Scalia could affect that decision.

FOX 32’s Larry Yellen has a look at what's ahead, including whether a new president named Donald Trump might commute Blagojevich’s sentence.

When Rod Blagojevich turned himself in to a federal prison outside Denver, he'd been convicted of 18 corruption counts and was facing 14 years in prison. Five counts were later thrown by an appellate court.

Now, he's waiting to be resentenced and also waiting to hear from the U.S. Supreme Court. Four justices must agree to hear his appeal, and appellate experts like Joel Bertocchi say Justice Scalia's death probably hurts Blagojevich's chances.

“I think there's a good argument to be made that it was really a loss for him,” Bertocchi said.

Bertocchi says Scalia sometimes broke new ground in favor of criminal defendants.

“So although he was conservative in his philosophy, he was very strong on enforcing the rights of criminal defendants. And I think the Blagojevich petition would have benefited from that,” Bertocchi said.

Blagojevich attorney Leonard Goodman declined an interview, but told Politico this week, "it's a blow, but we're hopeful."

However, maybe it's not all bad news for Blagojevich right now. As Donald Trump's candidacy becomes increasingly viable, is there a chance that Trump, if elected, would commute the sentence of the ex-governor he once fired on Celebrity Apprentice?

Blagojevich spokesman Glenn Selig told FOX 32 that Blagojevich "...felt like Trump got him and understood him. I do think that Trump really did like him."

Before firing Blagojevich, Trump repeatedly praised him.

“I gotta say, you got a lot of guts,” Donald Trump had told Blagojevich on The Apprentice.

Thom Serafin is a political consultant.

“He certainly could do anything at any time and nobody would be surprised,” Serafin said.

Serafin says pardons and commutations typically occur when presidents are on their way out of the White House. He says Presdent Obama won't help Blagojevich, but as for Trump, it’s possible he could.

“Donald Trump could say, heck, I know this guy, I've been there with him, he's not this way, he doesn't deserve 14 years,” Serafin said.

FOX 32 reached out to the Trump campaign regarding a pardon or commuted sentence for Blagojevich, but they never got back to us.

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