"Being Blago" isn't just a cute alliteration though. It's what Illinois' 40th governor does as a recovering ex-con, and is the given name of an ABC7 documentary dropping Friday on Hulu.
This is a story about purpose and power, and the search for redemption when you lose both... even if it could cost you everything you say you love.Stream On Hulu
"Being Blago" has a complexion of its own. Beneath the pancake, powder, and now semi-restored hair color, are the intangibles many voters saw, and liked, sending Rod Blagojevich to the general assembly, Congress and twice to the Governor's mansion; perhaps similar irrepressible traits that would eventually send him to federal prison.
"I was once on top of a very high mountain, I was knocked off of it, exiled," Blagojevich told the I-Team.
Richard Roeper reviews 'Being Blago'
For a governor with much higher aspirations, the gates to political, legal and personal exile were officially unlocked with an announcement on December 9, 2008.
"Governor Blagojevich has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree," then U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald announced at a press conference.
Impeachment, two trials, a Trump commutation and eight years in prison later, Blagojevich's flight from exile began as it had started: next to the same Chicago TV reporter, Chuck Goudie.
Hear from the filmmakers of the 'Being Blago' documentary
Last May, the I-Team invited Blagojevich to reflect.
The interview blossomed into almost six months with Illinois' latest defrocked governor; inside his home, inside his routine, inside his head -- even inside his closet. And inside his marriage, from the woman who talked about being Blago's wife.
"I hope there's enough there underlying that we'll find our way together again," said Patti Blagojevich in the documentary.
These many interviews have resulted in a four-part ABC7 documentary, available Friday on Hulu, our Disney-partner streaming platform.
Hulu is among many things that have changed in the world while Blagojevich was in prison.
"I have a lot of catching up to do," Blagojevich said. "You know, in prison, I was earning $5.25 a month, I went to college for that. I went to law school for that."
He's been working for a shipping company; has a podcast; is suing the state for preventing him from running for office and moonlights doing custom, online video greetings for anyone willing to pay.
"I charge $80. But I am the only governor and former inmate who does Cameos. So I am unique in that sense," said Blagojevich. "I learned that even a governor in the fifth largest state in America can be taken out of office with fake crimes...they can do this to a sitting governor in America's fifth largest state, they can do it to you."
He says "they" include Patrick Fitzgerald, who was US Attorney on the Blago federal case.
"I think he has evil in him," Blagojevich said. "I think he's, I think he's wicked."
And Judge James Zagel, who sentenced Blagojevich to 14 years.
"I think he's gonna have a day of judgment that he will have to answer for," said Blagojevich.
And his political nemesis, Mike Madigan, Illinois' longest-serving House Speaker who stepped down this year under the cloud of a corruption scandal.
"He's ruthless, remorseless, and relentless, all of those things. But not everybody is all bad," said Blagojevich.
He is unable to forget, and unwilling to forgive some who have contributed to his distress.
"You can't lie to God. And I can't say that I've forgiven them yet. But I don't hate them," Blagojevich told the I-Team.
Fitzgerald, Zagel and Madigan all declined to respond to Blagojevich's quotes.
In our interview, he also quoted Winston Churchill, among many he cited in our lengthy interview.
Churchill said, "If we open a quarrel between the past and the present we shall find that we have lost the future." Blagojevich promises that the future is his focus.
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