Obama says he had no contact with Illinois Governor over choosing Senate replacement

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Chicago, Dec.16 (ANI): US President-elect Barack Obama said Monday that he had no direct contact with Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich about the appointment of a Senate replacement, and reiterated that transition aides did nothing inappropriate.

Speaking through is lawyer, Obama was quoted by CBS as pledging to make the review public, but decided to hold off because prosecutors asked for a delay.

"I don't want to interfere with an ongoing investigation," he was quoted, as saying.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald released a statement confirming the request.

Controversy has swirled around the president-elect and his incoming White House chief of staff, Rep. Rahm Emanuel, following Blagojevich's arrest last week on charges he schemed to trade Obama's Senate seat for personal gain.

Obama, fielding questions at a news conference, sidestepped when asked whether Emanuel had spoken with aides to the governor about potential Senate appointees.

Emanuel was one of several aides who watched the news conference from the wings.

Obama pledged the results of the investigation by his incoming White House counsel, Gregory Craig, would be released "in due course."

He said the probe was complete and thorough, but did not say which of his aides Craig interviewed, whether any of them was under oath at the time, or any other details.

Blagojevich has authority under Illinois state law to name a Senate replacement for Obama, who resigned his seat as he prepares to become president.

Senate Democrats have warned the governor not to use his power, hinting they may refuse to allow his selection to take the oath of office.

A Blagojevich spokesman said he may sign a bill for a special election to pick Obama's Senate successor instead of naming that successor himself.

However, election officials statewide say they don't have the money to pay for a special election.

Obama held his news conference shortly after his transition office released a statement by spokesman Dan Pfeiffer saying the internal review had found no wrongdoing. (ANI)

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