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Blago courts attention, flies away for 14 years

NBC News

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich aboard a plane heading to Colorado to serve his prison sentence on March 15.

Ed Andrieski / AP

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich walks with attorneys as he arrives at the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood in Littleton, Colo. on March 15, where he began serving his 14-year sentence for corruption.

AP reports -- Convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrived at the Colorado federal prison on Thursday to begin a 14-year sentence for corruption, the latest chapter in the downfall of a charismatic politician that seemed more like a bizarre reality TV show than a legal battle.

In what has become a familiar scene in the three years since Blagojevich was taken out of his home in handcuffs by federal agents, the former governor had earlier bounded down the stairs of his Chicago home as a throng of cameramen, photographers and reporters crushed around him and well-wishers shouted encouragement.

As he has done repeatedly before and after his conviction, Blagojevich sounded an optimistic and even defiant note.

"I'm leaving with a heavy heart, a clear conscience and I have high, high hopes for the future," said Blagojevich, wearing a dark shirt, sport coat and blue jeans. Continue reading.

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Tannen Maury / EPA

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich autographs a sign calling for his freedom outside his home on the day before he is to report to prison on his corruption conviction in Chicago on March 14.

M. Spencer Green / AP

Annie Blagojevich, daughter of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, watches as her father is surrounded by the media in front of their home, on March 14, 2012 in Chicago. The 55-year-old Democrat is due to report to a prison in Colorado on Thursday to begin serving a 14-year sentence, making him the second Illinois governor in a row to go to prison for corruption.

Tannen Maury / EPA

Blagojevich kisses his wife Patti as he speaks outside their home in Chicago, the day before he is to report to prison. Blagojevich was convicted for attempting to sell the US Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama, among other charges.

Tannen Maury / EPA

Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich speaks outside his home as his wife Patti stands by his side on the day before he is to report to prison on his corruption conviction in Chicago, Illinois, on March 14. Blagojevich was convicted for attempting to sell the US Senate seat formerly held by President Barack Obama, among other charges.