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Blagojevich to serve sentence at Denver-area prison

Rod Blagojevich

Rod Blagojevich

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Updated: March 17, 2012 10:17AM

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich will serve his prison sentence for corruption at a low-security federal prison for male prisoners near Denver, as he had requested and a judge had recommended, sources said.

The Federal Correctional Institution Englewood — about 15 miles southwest of Denver near the suburb of Littleton, Colo. — is the same prison where Larry Warner, a co-defendant in the earlier corruption case that sent former Gov. George Ryan to prison, served two years after being convicted of conspiring with Ryan to steer state contracts his way.

Blagojevich’s family isn’t expected to move to be closer to him, according to one of his lawyers, Carolyn Gurland, who said Wednesday the Blagojeviches had hoped to keep the prison assignment private.

“Mr. Blagojevich, [the U.S. Probation Department] and the defense team were extraordinarily cautious that this information did not become public, and we’re very disappointed that it did,” Gurland said. “He and his family want some privacy during this time. The governor’s focus is going to be that there is a smooth transition and hopes there’s some respect for his privacy.”

Neither the U.S. Bureau of Prisons nor U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office would comment on Blagojevich’s prison placement.

“We won’t discuss it for security reasons until after they arrive and for the privacy of the individual,” Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said.

Blagojevich is expected to report to the Colorado prison on March 15 to begin serving his 14-year sentence.

He was convicted last year of wide-ranging corruption while in office — including trying to sell or trade an appointment to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama’s election.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel sentenced Blagojevich in December and agreed with the disgraced former governor’s request to recommend that he spend his time behind bars in Colorado.

Blagojevich has kept a low profile since his conviction last summer, declining interview requests. That’s in stark contast to his behavior prior to being convicted. After his December 2008 arrest, Blagojevich took his case to the public, holding multiple news conferences, making frequent national television appearances, hosting a Chicago radio program and appearing on a “reality TV” show.

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