Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich holds a news conference after his release from federal prison.

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich walked out of federal prison late Tuesday evening and flew back to Chicago after President Donald Trump commuted his sentence.

Speaking to Chicago TV station WGN-TV, Blagojevich said he was “grateful” to Trump.

“He didn’t have to do this, he’s a Republican president and I was a Democratic governor. I’ll have a lot more to say tomorrow.” Blagojevich, 63, told WGN-TV in an interview on the Denver airport tram on his way out of Colorado.

Blagojevich, a Democrat and one-time contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice,” had been serving a 14-year sentence in a Colorado federal prison. He was convicted in 2011 of federal charges of using his powers as governor to extract campaign money and other political favors in exchange for naming a successor to fill the Illinois Senate seat left open when Barack Obama became president, but Trump objected to the length of his sentence.

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