Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested on corruption charges, one of which alleges he tired to sell the US Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.
State Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said: “This is a sad day for government. It is a very sad day for Illinois government. Governor Blagojevich has taken us to a truly new low. Governor Blagojevich has been arrested in the middle of what we can only describe as a political corruption crime spree.”
Blagojevich is also accused of trying to strongarm the Chicago Tribune to sack board members hostile to him. Obama has long distanced himself from the governor. “I had no contact with the governor or his office and so I was not aware of what was happening. As I said, it is a sad day for Illinois. Beyond that, I don’t think it is appropriate to comment, “ he said.
Arrested alongside Blagojevitch was his chief of staff, John Harris. Blagojevich, in his second term, is the latest in a string of Illinois governors to fall foul of the law. His immediate predecessor, George Ryan, is in jail following a federal corruption conviction.