03/15/2013 02:48 pm ET Updated Mar 15, 2013

Rod Blagojevich First Year In Prison: Ex-Illinois Governor Marks Milestone Friday, Still Hopeful For Appeal

For jailed ex-Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, what a difference a year makes.

It was a year ago Friday the colorful politician left Illinois amid a national media frenzy in disgrace and facing a 14-year sentence for corruption.

Now, his attorney says after a year of losing his freedom (but washing plenty of dishes and checking out books) the ex-governor's spirits are "good" and he's still optimistic he can clear his name on appeal.

"He believes justice in the end will prevail," Blagojevich attorney Lauren Kaeseberg said to the Chicago Tribune. "He wakes up every day in a horrible place and that's what gets him through every day, is a belief that in the end the right thing will happen."

Politico reports the separation from his wife, Patti, and two young daughters has been the hardest. "His family visit him as often as they can make the trip to Colorado,” Blago's appellate lawyer Len Goodman told the site.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Patti wrote that "all that we have been left with is a aching hole in our lives." She also said that her husband runs "miles and miles" around a quarter-mile track, the Associated Press reports, and that they talk often.

Patti Blagojevich visited her husband in the Englewood prison last May and called it "one of the saddest places on earth."

On his last night as a free man in 2012, Blago made a characteristically dramatic scene issuing a final statement to press — complete with media helicopters buzzing over his Ravenswood home, the Sun-Times notes — signed autographs and mugged for the many cameras.

The next day he would grab a pair of patty melts on his way to federal prison near Denver, and continue to grandstand all the way to prison, high-fiving fellow inmates his first night in lockup.

The attention-loving pol has continued to keep what sounds like a high-profile in prison, teaching a history class that WGN reports was so popular with inmates, several had to be turned away because there were too many applicants.

Somewhat surprising is that Blagojevich has not granted any interviews or photos since heading to jail. One possible reason: while family and attorneys haven't confirmed it, the ex-governor is said to be going grey and dyes aren't allowed for inmates at the low-security prison.



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