Former Illinois governor pleads not guilty

April 15th, 2009 - 1:04 am ICT by IANS  

Rod Blagojevich Washington, April 14 (DPA) Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was booted from office by the state legislature earlier this year over a series of corruption allegations, pleaded not guilty to the charges in federal court Tuesday.
In a court appearance in Chicago, Blagojevich pleaded not guilty to 16 criminal counts that included racketeering and wire fraud, the US District Court of Northern Illinois confirmed.

The most notorious allegation against Blagojevich was that he tried to solicit favours over the vacant Senate seat of President Barack Obama after he won the 2008 election. The governor has sole power to appoint a replacement and eventually chose Roland Burris, who has since come under increased scrutiny for his dealings with Blagojevich, but faces no charges.

Blagojevich was impeached and ousted from office earlier this year by the Illinois General Assembly.

Five other people including Blagojevich’s brother, two former aides and two fundraisers have also been indicted in the corruption case.

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