As they have throughout his three-year legal ordeal, supporters were outside the former governor's house yelling encouragement. "We'll be praying for you, we'll take care of your family," some shouted.
About 40 minutes later, Blagojevich, his sport coat off, could be seen going through security at O'Hare International Airport, where he raised his arms as he went through the imaging machine. Just as he was surrounded by cameras at his house, a crowd of travelers at the airport snapped his photograph as he made his way to the gate. His flight was scheduled to take off later in the morning.
When Blagojevich walks into prison Thursday — the state's second former governor in federal prison, joining George Ryan, who was also convicted of corruption charges — he will undergo a full-body strip search and hand over his personal belongings, save for his wedding ring. The man with a taste for fine Oxxford-label suits will be given khaki prison garb and boots.
Then, he will become Inmate No. 40892-424.
The one-time golden boy of Illinois politics with a penchant for television cameras is expected to report to a Colorado prison by 2 p.m. to begin his 14-year prison term on corruption charges, marking the state's second governor in a row to be sent to prison for corruption.
Jurors convicted Blagojevich on 18 counts, including charges that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat. FBI wiretaps revealed a fouled-mouth Blagojevich describing the opportunity to exchange an appointment to the seat for campaign cash or a top job as "f------ golden."