Patti Blagojevich in first sit-down since sentencing

February 10, 2012 4:31:17 AM PST
In an interview that was rambling, tearful and sometimes punctuated by sobbing, former Illinois first lady Patti Blagojevich on Thursday spoke in detail for the first time since her husband was sentenced to a lengthy federal prison term.

ABC7 News has learned that Mrs. Blagojevich taped an exclusive interview with Chicago-based talk show hostess Rosie O'Donnell.

During the one-on-one interview, the wife of the impeached and disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich downplayed the severity of her husband's wrongdoing that resulted in jury convictions on 17 corruption-related counts. "He was found guilty of getting advice and having routine conversations with advisors and closest friends" she told O'Donnell "It wasn't about anything else," she said.

Accompanied on Thursday by the lawyer who unsuccessfully defended her husband, Mrs. Blagojevich said that she wanted to provide more details about the legal ordeal and that "someday when this is over we could have 3 hour conversation" but that "his lawyers have told me not to talk about it."

Mrs. Blagojevich said that the "case isn't over. We have faith in system that this wrong will be righted and truth will prevail." The former governor's legal team has filed an appeal of the conviction and sentence.

Mr. Blagojevich is scheduled to report to federal prison on March 15 to begin a sentence of 14 years. He has requested to serve time at a facility in Colorado.

The former first lady, daughter of a Northwest Side Chicago alderman, said that her role in life right now is one of a "supporting player" for her husband and that her friends know the real Patti Blagojevich.

Although she declined to discuss specifics of the criminal charges against her husband that resulted in two federal trials, Mrs. Blagojevich did tell Rosie O'Donnell that the government wiretaps on their telephones were invasive.

There is no air date for the interview, which will be seen on the Rosie O'Donnell Show, on Oprah Winfrey's cable network, OWN.

As she was driven in a limousine from Winfrey's HARPO studio on the West Side, Patti Blagojevich did not stop to speak with an ABC7 News crew that was outside.