Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich released his first public statement since he entered prison almost four years ago, saying he and his family "continue to have faith in the truth."
The statement was released Tuesday, the same day Blagojevich asked a full federal appellate court in Chicago to rehear his appeal after three judges overturned some of his corruption convictions last month.
In the statement, the former governor maintains that "fundraising is a part of the job of every politician." He also claimed that the instructions given to the jury that led to his convictions could send any politician to jail "at the whim of an ambitious prosecutor."
Three judges on a federal appeals court threw out only five of 18 convictions against Blagojevich on July 21 and ordered him to stay in prison pending a new sentence. The decision disappointed Blagojevich and his family, and his lawyer urged him to "fight on."
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Blagojevich echoed his lawyer's words in his public statement. Read the full statement below:
"It has been almost three and a half years since I left home and reported to prison. These have been hard years for my family — for our children and for my wife, Patti, and me. Yet we continue to have faith in the truth; in the righteousness of our cause; in the rule of law and in America; in each other; and, most of all, in God. There is nothing I desire more than to return home to my wife and two young daughters. I cherish them more than anything in the world. I wish this was over. But I must fight on. What is at stake is nothing less than the rule of law. I urge the media and the public to please read the court filing carefully. Fundraising is a part of the job of every politician. The jury instructions used to convict me in my case are not the law. It makes the standard so low that any politician can be jailed at the whim of an ambitious prosecutor. That standard is wrong and needs to be corrected."