Illinois governor Blagojevich removed from office

Friday, January 30, 2009

Rod Blagojevich in 2006
Image: Erik Abderhalden.

The Illinois Senate has voted unanimously to remove disgraced Governor Rod Blagojevich from office. He has been replaced by Lt Governor Pat Quinn. The 59-0 vote also bars him from holding public office in Illinois ever again.

Blagojevich has been accused of attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he won the presidency. He has repeatedly denied the charge. Investigators have released secretly recorded tapes of conversations which allegedly feature him talking of how much he could make from the deal.

Officials in the state capital, Springfield, have immediately removed the ex-governor's name and face from public buildings, including the name plate on his office door. Official portraits have been changed to that of Quinn.

Democratic senator Dick Durbin released a statement saying, "It is now time to close this chapter in Illinois history. The state of Illinois is in need of a fresh start".