ours after he became the first Illinois governor to be impeached, Rod Blagojevich today insisted he is innocent of corruption charges and will continue to fight to fulfill his job as the state's chief executive.
At a televised news conference, Blagojevich, 52, argued that the impeachment was expected given his tortured relations with the Legislature.
he House's action was, of course, not a surprise," he told reporters. "It was a foregone conclusion . . . kind of expected, part of the process that has essentially been the dynamic since I was reelected in 2006."
Surrounded by people he said his administration's programs had helped, Blagojevich briefly mentioned the federal charges just to dismiss them. He took no questions.
"I am confident that at the end of the day, I will be properly exonerated," he said. "In the meantime, I have a job to do for the people. They hired me to fight for them, and I will fight for them every step of the way.
"We're going to move forward, I'm going to fight every step of the way. Let me reassert to all of you once more that I'm not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing," he said.
Earlier, the Illinois House impeached Blagojevich by a vote of 114 to 1, setting up a trial in the state Senate.
"It's our duty to clean up the mess and stop the freak show that's become Illinois government," said Rep. Jack D. Franks, a Democrat.
The Senate will convene next week and is expected to establish the procedures for the trial. Each of the state's 59 senators will act as a juror. Forty votes are needed to convict.
Yipster, Debate Anything
YIPSTER - Let's debate it.