March 15th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

Abramoff to Blagojevich: 'Keep your head down'

On the day former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich begins a 14-year prison sentence on a corruption conviction, he's getting some advice on life behind bars from someone who knows firsthand how hard it can be: Jack Abramoff.

Abramoff, a former Republican lobbyist, was the central figure in a corruption scandal that ultimately led to charges against numerous lobbyists and public officials. He served four years of a six-year sentence in federal prison.

In a poignant interview on CNN's "Starting Point," Abramoff offered a strategy to Blagojevich for surviving his incarceration. Watch the video to hear Abramoff's advice and reflections on his big regret the day he surrendered to authorities.

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Filed under: Crime • Jack Abramoff • Politics • Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. BOMBO ©

    Does the cliche "Don't drop the soap" hold in the white collar minimum security prisons, or just in the maximium security prisons?

    March 15, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. David

    Yea, keep your head Leroy's lap...youll make it through okay...

    March 15, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. p-body

    keep your head down. that means suk a dick or get shanked. that is horrible

    March 15, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. rharri

    Turn to the muslim brothers for protection...........they'll welcome you with open arms. LOL.

    March 15, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. BLah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Whay a stupid judicial system! First of all GWB murdered so many innocent people in two outrageous and illegitimate wars and sadly our troops are still dying in Afghanistan a decade later because he deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged the Afghan war to invade Iraqand. Secondly, we are continuing to be targets world wide because of GWB's arrogance and misguided pointless foreign and domestic policies but yet this war criminal is free and Mr. Blagojevich goes to prison! What a f-up society!

    March 15, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Duane

      Wow what does Bush even remotely do with this story....he has been gone for a few years. Let it be or get some therapy.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • jon

      Absolutely right! People like Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, etc, etc. should be in the pen. Those idiots caused thousands upon thousands of deaths and horrible injuries to our young men. For nothing! No wonder we never see Bush come out of his 2 million dollar house. Just great. These guys are war criminals and get off scot free.
      What a stupid country this is.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • jj

      "Letting it go" is exactly what makes it happen again and again. People don't learn lessons. They just shut their eyes and hope it goes away. Even though they brought it upon themselves with their choices. While I agree he doesn't have much to do with this article, the LAST thing we should do is forget. To forget is to make history repeat.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      While I never agreed with Bush's decision to send troops to Iraq, if Congress hadn't approved it the troops wouldn't have gone to war. So every Congressman or Woman who approved the action–on either side of the aisle, Democrat and Republican alike–is equally responsible for our troops getting sent to die in Iraq . Want to send them all to prison as well? The difference between what all of them did and what Blagejevich did is that they could all say that at the time they all thought there was some real threat to the country and they were protecting it. What Blagejevich did, although it didn't result in any deaths, is simply pure corruption and abuse of power without anything remotely looking like any kind of goal to use his power to do anything whatsoever but serve himself and make some money.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmazedinFL

      BTW, to clarify my last post, I'm not saying that I think there WAS a real threat to our country that justified sending troops to die in Iraq, and I do believe there was likely ummm... selective picking and choosing of info to give Congress in order to sway them to make a choice that was largely made due to motivations other than protecting the country. I'm not disagreeing with you there. However, my point is that in Blago's case there wasn't even an appearance that he COULD have even possibly been doing anything for reasons other than pure self interest. It's a quite brazen way of abusing power, and quite stupid. Let that go and you're sending the message that elected officials don't even have to bother to pretend that they're serving any greater interest than their own.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnest T Bass

      WHAT? Oh Brother what are you talking about? DH!

      March 15, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. tac

    to bad he is not going to prison in mississippi, he would probably be home before dinner.

    March 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BLah blah the wheel's off your trailer is an idiot!!!

    Bush didn't murder anyone you idiot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Excessive use of the punctuation mark ! means you're smarter.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • ron

      And thousands of people in prison, that hired a hit man to murder someone have said the same thing, "I didn't kill anyone!". While technically true, it does not mean they are not guilty.
      Bush also wasn't guilty of torture. He purposely had the meaning of the word 'torture' re-defined, so people couldn't claim he was guilty of it. And, yes, he also had someone else do it, so his hands were clean.
      Personally, I think he should be tried for treason, and jailed for a long, long, time, for what he did to our country, and much of the rest of the world.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BLah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      You're plain delusional! A few more sips of that Kool-Aid should put you away for good!

      March 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • David in Cincinnati

      Blah blah thinks the Kool-Aid argument is convincing.

      March 15, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ron

    I live in Illinois. After TWO crooked Chicago politicians in a row, as governor, our local joke is, "I wonder who the 'top' will be? Blago, or Ryan?'
    With all due respect to the honest citizens of Chicago, I've said for years, the cure for most of the crooked governors we've had, is to STOP electing crooked politicians & lawyers from Chicago for governor! The list extends WELL back into history, beyond these last two, and the rest of our state has had about enough of it!
    You would think Al Capone was alive & well!!! Down state Illinois would like nothing better than to spin Chicago off to it's own state. They seem to expect us to send ALL of our tax money for schools, roads etc..., to Chicago, and the devil with our schools & roads. With the states highest taxes, they want ours, too. But there is a lot more to Illinois than one metropolitan area, and city.

    March 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Chicago was named most corrupt city in America this year.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • BLah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Well, he did in fact make some bad decisions and he did indeed do some wrong! But at least no Americans and at least none of our troops died as a result of his actions! Too bad the same cannot be said of the actions and policies of the GOP and GWB and Dick Cheyney! Let's face it, the best Republican is a dead republican!

      March 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clint

      Ron, if you think that downstate Illinois taxes subsidize Chicago in any way, and NOT the other way around, then you need to go pickup a new pocket calculator from the feed n seed.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. BLah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @ Duane

    No Duane, its the parents of our troops who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan and the parents of those who continue to die in Afghanistan that need the therapy for the pain and sorrow GWB and the likes of Dick Cheyney have brought upon them. A few months ago Dick Cheyney went on CNN and didn't have the nerve to say he was sorry that some of his administration's foreign and domestic policies didn't work or that our troops were still dying abroad as a result of these failed and misguided policies. No, without remorse or restraint Dick Cheyney said he has "no regrets whatsoever!" That is the sort of BS that would drive anybody to seek mother f-ing therapy! You rightwing lunatic!

    March 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. DrptheLBomb

    I love it when someone proclaims "Trailer Trash", and can't spell, Ha! Soooooo Funny! Anyway, the chances of him becoming someone's "punk" in jail are very, very slim, but never the less possible. The slam on GWB is truly uneducated, thinks he's/or she's a liberal blather. It really is just Blah, Blah, Blah. When it comes to the wars, if our wonderful Libs would have simply shut up and sat down, we would have simply unleashed the world strongest Military, and the wars would have been over in a third of the time. Anyway, Blago was made example of, nothing more. So he wanted campaign contributions for the seat. I could really care, It was done to take the attention off of the "In Cahoots" Pres. we currently have Running Our Nation Into The Ground. Should he have gotten 14 years. NO, but when you go against the Party Bosses Wishes, You Pay, and dearly in some cases. If you want some really interesting reading, take a look at all the mysterious deaths of people in and around the Clinton Admin. Look here, all the Politicians in Washington deserve to go to jail for Treason, if they didn't when they got there, 30 days later, They Do. Blago is like a

    March 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • BLah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Rightwing confederate trailer trask!

      March 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      If youdon' fingers pointed, don't do it yourself.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Carol

    Why does Blago need two lawyers to take him to prison? Seems like a joke to me.

    March 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jason

    I thought the trick was to kill somebody the first day in the joint just to send a message. Maybe I just heard that in a movie.

    March 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DrptheLBomb

    pick-up, Blago is like a pot smoker that gets 15 years, but the dealer himself gets the keys to the city. Welcome to the new United States of Dementia!!!!

    March 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Gotta agree that pot smokers get a raw deal.
      Some murderers get less time.

      March 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lens27

    14 years in prison for corruption is does not sound fair. Feel sad for his family.

    March 15, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • BLah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Agree! But they'll survive!

      March 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • David in Cincinnati

      I feel sad that his wife couldn't see through him before the children were born.

      March 15, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. rockysfan

    Abramoff wouldn't know a REAL penitentiary if it reached out an bit him in the _ _ _ ! He's been confined to a country club, not prison. Please!

    March 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
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