54-0 vote ensures Illinois Governor Blagojevich's exit from office

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Springfiled (Illinois, US), Jan.30 (ANI): Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was impeached by the state Senate on Thursday by unanimous 54-0 vote.

According to Fox News, Blagojevich failed to sway the Senators in his favour, and the reins of state government have been handed over to Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn.

Blagojevich's career in politics, for all practical purposes, is over.

The outcome was never in doubt. In fact, Quinn went to the state Capitol earlier in the day to prepare to be sworn in.

Blagojevich said he was saddened and disappointed by the Senate's decision but not at all surprised.

"I predicted it. The fix was in from the very beginning. The fight goes on. Just because I'm not governor, doesn't mean I won't keep fighting for the causes I've always fought for," he told reporters after the verdict.

The governor's impeachment was triggered by his arrest last month on a variety of federal corruption charges. The criminal complaint against him included a long list of shocking quotes related to Blagojevich's apparent attempt to auction off President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat and pressure people for campaign donations.

The former governor had refused to take part in the state Senate trial, but he surprised everyone by asking to make a closing statement Thursday, in which he insisted that he should not be tossed out of office on what he called incomplete evidence.

"You haven't proved a crime, and you can't because it didn't happen," Blagojevich pleaded to state senators.

"How can you throw a governor out of office with insufficient and incomplete evidence?"

But state senators were unmoved. One by one, before casting their votes, they expressed their contempt for Blagojevich with a litany of epithets, calling him "dishonest," "devious," "corrupt," and a "hypocrite."

They also blasted him for taking a media tour this week to disparage the impeachment hearing before showing up at the trial at the 11th hour without presenting any evidence of his innocence. (ANI)

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