Patti Blagojevich insists Rod is innocent

February 28, 2012 8:33:52 PM PST
Patti Blagojevich says she still believes her convicted husband, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is innocent and she thought his arrest was a ''joke.''

The former first lady spoke with Rosie O'Donnell in an exclusive interview. Parts of that interview were shown when O'Donnell appeared on ABC7's Windy City LIVE Tuesday morning.

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is to report to prison on March 15. He was found guilty on several counts in his corruption trials.

"They called, I thought it was joke. They said, 'We're the FBI. We're downstairs. Open the door. We have a warrant for your husband's arrest,'" Patti Blagojevich said of her husband's arrest during the interview. They have two daughters.

"To have him face the faces of his children, look them in the eyes and say, 'Look, this is breaking daddy's heart,'" O'Donnell said.

"Now, you're going to make me cry," Patti Blagojevich replied.

On Windy City LIVE, O'Donnell said she identifies with the Blagojevichs because the death of her mother was handled in an insensitive way.

"How does she tell the children? Initially the thought was that he was just sort of going to make it like another day. And it hit me so hard, having lived through what I did," O'Donnell said. "I think that children know a lot more than we give them credit for."

In the show, O'Donnell tells Patti Blagojevich, "It's true honey, this is a very difficult thing for every family. I can't fathom what you're going through as a mother. But to pretend it's not going to happen. When my mother died, a very different thing, my father told us, 'Your mother passed away,' and no one mentioned her name again."

After her appearance on Windy City LIVE, O'Donnell said, "She has children, two girls, same ages as my girls. And I tried to imagine what it would feel like to have to tell them their other parent was going away for the rest of their childhood. It just seems unimaginable to me."

Patti Blagojevich strongly believes her husband was wrongfully convicted and is innocent of all charges.

"I'm positive," Patti Blagojevich said. "I was there. I heard all the conversations, and I know his heart. So much of this is case is about intent. . . And I know his heart. They can say whatever they want, and I know what his intentions were."

O'Donnell said she and Patti Blagojevich bonded and the two families will have dinner this week. The full interview with Patti Blagojevich airs Wednesday, February 29 on the Rosie Show on OWN-TV.