Illinois moves to remove Governor Blagojevich

December 13th, 2008 - 2:42 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Dec 13 (DPA) The top law enforcement officer in Illinois filed a motion Friday with the state’s highest court to strip Governor Rod Blagojevich of his power following his arrest on corruption charges.Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the allegations against Blagojevich leave him incapable of effectively governing the state. The state Supreme Court should temporarily remove him from office and appoint Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn as the acting governor, she said.

“We think he is incapable of serving,” Madigan said.

Federal authorities arrested Blagojevich, 51, outside his home Tuesday, charging him with soliciting bribes for his choice of a candidate to replace president-elect Barack Obama in the Senate among other allegations.

Meanwhile, the Illinois state legislature will convene Monday to initiate proceedings to impeach Blagojevich, but Madigan said that process could take time and the governor needs to be removed from power quickly.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, has refused to step down and still holds the power to name Obama’s successor. Obama resigned from the Senate Nov 16, 12 days after winning the election. Fitzgerald said there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Obama.

Obama and other have called on the legislature to change the law and conduct a special election to fill the Senate seat, arguing that anyone chosen by Blagojevich will not be credible.

The US Justice Department also accused Blagojevich and his top aide, John Harris, 46, of seeking bribes for other political favours and using a state partnership with the Tribune Co to force it to fire editorial writers at its Chicago Tribune newspaper.

Blagojevich and Harris were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. They face maximum sentences of 20 years in prison if convicted.

Harris stepped down from his position Friday, the Tribune reported.

Obama has been among the numerous voice calling on Blagojevich to step down, but the governor returned to work Wednesday, after he appeared in court and Tuesday and was released on bail.

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