Rod Bagojevich, the embattled governor of Illinois, vowed last night to fight on in spite of being arrested on a series of corruption charges
Rod Bagojevich, the embattled governor of Illinois, vowed last night to fight on in spite of being arrested on a series of *corruption charges, including an *allegation that he tried to sell Barack Obama's vacant US Senate seat.In a breathless performance, he read out a prepared statement saying he was innocent and would not resign. He said he was a victim of a lynch mob.
"I am not guilty of any criminal *wrongdoing. I intend to stay on the job," Blagojevich told a press conference in *Chicago. "I will fight, I will fight, I will fight, until I take my last breath."
After making his first formal public statement since he was arrested last week, he refused to take questions from *reporters, saying he did not want to engage in soundbites and would answer questions in detail in a courtroom.
The Illinois senate on Wednesday began a process that could lead to his impeachment.
The scandal has proved to be a *distraction for Obama. His almost daily press conferences in Chicago to announce members of his administration have been overshadowed by questions about Blagojevich. Obama has said he had no contact with Blagojevich about his vacant seat. Although Obama leaves for holiday in Hawaii today, a review of contacts between his staff and Blagojevich's office is to be published next week.
Obama's proposed White House chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, is reported to have been in touch with Blagojevich's office. The president-elect said there had been no "inappropriate" discussions between any of his staff and the governor's.
There would have been nothing *unethical about Emmanuel, in his role as chief of staff, discussing a preferred candidate to replace Obama. But it would be embarrassing if the review reveals repeated calls between Emmanuel and Blagojevich's office.
On Sunday, the Illinois attorney *general, Lisa Madigan, hinted that *Blagojevich might resign the next day but his office later scotched that rumour, and he has continued to work.
At the press conference yesterday, Blagojevich resorted briefly to poetry, quoting Kipling about fighting on against the odds, and said he was absolutely certain that he would be vindicated.
"I'm not going to quit a job the people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob," he said.
He added: "Afford me the same rights that you and your children have. The presumption of innocence. The right to defend yourself. I have on my side the most powerful ally there is: the truth." Besides, I have the personal knowledge that I have not done anything wrong."