Fellow air travelers: Blagojevich initially jovial | VailDaily.com

Fellow air travelers: Blagojevich initially jovial

The Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich departs his Chicago home for Littleton, Colo., to begin his 14-year prison sentence on corruption charges Thursday, March 15, 2012. The 55-year-old Democrat becomes the second Illinois governor in a row to go to prison for corruption. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

DENVER (AP) – Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was jovial and seemed cheerful when he got on a flight Thursday to Colorado, but appeared decidedly more somber once he arrived in the state where he’ll serve his federal prison sentence for corruption, fellow airline passengers said.

Travelers who shared the American Airlines flight from Chicago described Blagojevich as looking like a celebrity or a politician in the way he interacted with people. But by the time he got off in Denver, they said, the disgraced former governor’s mood had mellowed as he prepared to begin a 14-year sentence for corruption.

“Getting off the plane … you can tell he kind of had like a little bit of nervousness, like it was the end of his limelight,” said passenger Lori Korda.

She said the flight attendants did not give him extra attention but were trying to get accompanying journalists to keep the noise down.

Blagojevich sat in the back of the plane and seemed to be relaxing, said another passenger on the flight, Nick Lundquist.

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“His mood getting on the plane was very much like a celebrity, shaking hands – or actually, more like a politician if anything,” he said.

The ex-governor was giving hugs and taking pictures with onlookers as journalists swarmed, Lundquist said. He said Blagojevich’s mood became heavier after the plane landed.

“It was a lot darker, it seemed more morose. He definitely seemed nervous. He just looked like all his merriment was over,” Lundquist said.

Jurors convicted Blagojevich on 18 counts, including charges that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat.

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