President Donald Trump is expected to grant clemency to former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was impeached and removed from office in 2009 on corruption charges, and to former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, two people familiar with the president's plans said Tuesday.
The news comes hours after Trump signed an executive order granting a full pardon to former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. related to a decades-old corruption charge.
Blagojevich, 63, was sentenced in 2011 to 14 years in federal prisonon corruption charges related to his solicitation of bribes in an attempt to "sell" the Senate seat Barack Obama left open after being elected president.
Blagojevich, a Democrat, has been serving his term at the low-security Federal Correctional Institute in Englewood, Colorado.
He was a contestant on Trump's reality TV show "The Celebrity Apprentice" in 2010.
Kerik was sentenced in 2010 to four years in prison after pleading guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud.
The president said in August of last year that he was "very strongly" consideringgiving Blagojevich a reprieve — not the first he'd publicly floated the idea.
"I'm thinking about commuting his sentence very strongly," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One then. "I think it's enough — seven years," he added, referring the amount of time the ex-governor has already served.
"He's been in jail for seven years, over a phone call where nothing happens ... Over a phone call where, you know, he shouldn't have said what he said, but it was braggadocio, you would say. I would think that there have been many politicians, I'm not one of them, by the way, that have said a lot worse over telephones," he added.
In 2018, in the weeks after he pardoned conservative provocateur Dinesh D'Souza, Trump had said he'd been "thinking about" taking the action on behalf of the ex-governor. Trump told reporters in May 2018 thatBlagojevich had received a lengthy sentence "for being stupid and saying things that every other politician, you know, that many other politicians say" and "that he was treated unfairly."
The remarks were likely a reference to what the then-governor was picked up saying on secret federal wiretaps about his authority to appoint someone to Obama's open Senate seat.
Blagojevich has argued he was a victim of federal prosecutors run amok — a claim Trump himself levied at former special counsel Robert Mueller's team, which investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election and the president.
"Under the legal arguments that prosecutors used to convict me, all fundraising can be viewed as bribery," the ex-governor wrote in a 2018 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that was widely viewed as a personal appeal to Trump for clemency.
Democrats — including Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and former Attorney General Eric Holder — have said publicly in the past that they'd support efforts by Trump to commute Blagojevich's sentence.
Trump has issued numerous pardonsand commutationssince taking office. In addition to the pardon Tuesday for DeBartolo Jr. and in 2018 for D'Souza, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to violating campaign finance laws, Trump has pardoned Joe Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff who is a favorite of immigration hard-liners; I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney who was convicted of obstructing justice and lying to authorities during an investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame; Kristian Mark Saucier, a Navy sailor who kept classified materials; and Jack Johnson, the African-American boxing legend who was convicted under a law that was used as a deterrent to interracial dating.
Trump also commuted the sentence of Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving life in prison on drug charges, after reality star Kim Kardashian West lobbied the president in an Oval Office meeting to intervene her behalf.
In addition, Trump has hinted at pardoning lifestyle and home merchandise mogul Martha Stewart, who was convicted in 2004 on charges related to insider stock trading and was sentenced to five months in prison.