Blagojevich 'same old Rod' in prison

April 23, 2012 8:31:44 PM PDT
Two defense attorneys who represented Rod Blagojevich visited him over the weekend and one of them talked to ABC-7 about how the former Illinois governor is handling prison life.

Blagojevich has traded the perks of being governor for the pots and pans of the prison kitchen.

He is a dishwasher, and to hear his attorneys tell it, one of the most popular people in the federal pen.

"He was the same old Rod!" said Blagojevich friend and former attorney Sam Adam, Jr.

You can put the politician in prison, but apparently you can't take the politician out of the prisoner.

"It was a relief when he finally walked out and I got to see that mane, that big mane, big head of hair," Adam said. "It's brown now, not black. He had a slight tan. He really looked good."

Adam, and his father Sam, Sr. went to visit their former client over the weekend at the federal penitentiary in Littleton, Colorado. They say prison has not changed his outgoing personality.

"As he walks out, people said, 'Hey Gov!, Hey Gov!' The inmates know him, they all knew he was," Adam said. "He had to have shaken five people's hands, he shook family members' hands - it was as if he was still on the campaign trail."

Adam says the former governor's wife and daughters have visited him once since he reported five weeks ago. Blagojevich keeps in touch with them via email and phone calls.

"Of course the worse time is the night," Adam said. "The prison calms down and he thinks about his babies. That's been the saddest part, those babies, he thinks about them constantly. He misses them constantly and that's what he's focused on."

For now, Blagojevich, like most new inmates, works as a dishwasher in the prison kitchen. He hopes to soon work in the library, perhaps teaching prisoners about Shakespeare or Greek philosophy.

He is said to be getting along just fine with his bunkmate and taking his 14 year sentence one day at a time.

"His spirit is not broken," Adam said. "They can't break that spirit. He is an eternal optimist."

Despite his job doing dishes, the former governor reportedly has time to run several miles a day and lift weights.

As bright of a picture as his former attorneys paint, the reality is Monday will be Blagojevich's 40th night in prison.

He has at least 4,000 more.