Illinois governor ousted in plot to sell Obama’s seat (Lead)

January 30th, 2009 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Jan 30 (DPA) Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was thrown out of office Thursday by state legislators on criminal corruption misconduct charges that included a plot to sell President Barack Obama’s vacated US Senate seat to the highest bidder.The Illinois Senate’s 59 members voted unanimously to convict and remove Blagojevich from the post. Blagojevich, who was immediately stripped of his power, became the eighth governor in US history to be impeached and removed from office.

The Senate also voted unanimously to ban Blagojevich, 52, from ever again seeking an elected office in the state.

“Today ends a painful episode for Illinois,” Obama said in a statement late Thursday. “For months, the state had been crippled by a crisis of leadership. Now that cloud has lifted.”

At an impromptu press conference outside his Chicago home after the Senate vote, Blagojevich said: “I’m obviously sad and disappointed, but not at all surprised by what the state Senate did today.”

Blagojevich, who said he didn’t watch the vote on TV but was informed of the result by phone, also added that he was determined to “keep fighting to clear my name… I’ll have my day in court”.

Blagojevich was elected governor in 2002 and has been the subject of federal investigation for years.

The Illinois House voted 114-1 Jan 9 to impeach Blagojevich and send the matter to the Senate. After Thursday’s vote, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn was sworn in as the new leader of the state.

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