Blagojevich not stepping down

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Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he is innocent of the federal corruption charges levied against him, and he will not resign his post as the state’s leader.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he is innocent of the federal corruption charges levied against him, and he will not resign his post as the state’s leader. At a news conference Friday at his Chicago office in the Thompson Center, he spoke out for the first time since his Dec. 9 arrest, saying, “I will fight, I will fight, I will fight until I take my last breath. I have done nothing wrong. I’m not going to quit a job the people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob.” The governor was charged in a federal criminal complaint with mail, wire fraud and bribery, including trying to auction the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. Blagojevich said he wants to “answer every allegation” in court and asked the citizens to “reserve judgment.” “Afford me the same rights that you and your children have, the presumption of innocence, the right to defend yourself,” he said.   While the governor refused to take questions from reporters, one of his defense attorneys talked. Blagojevich is being represented by half of R&B singer R. Kelly’s criminal defense team, Ed Genson and Sam Adam Jr. They are also representing the governor on his impeachment hearings. State legislators began impeachment proceedings earlier this week. They will reconvene next week. The Illinois Supreme Court rejected a motion filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to have Blagojevich temporarily removed from office. Adam said Blagojevich was “broadsided” by the arrest and the impeachment proceeds, and needs a “second to breathe.” The defense team is awaiting the full transcripts of secretly taped conversations by the FBI involving the governor. Genson, who did not attend the news conference, classified the wiretaps as illegal. When they’re made available by the U.S. Attorney’s office and "not just 15-second snippets, you’re going to find out the truth on this,” Adam said. Adam also reiterated Blagojevich’s statement of not stepping down as governor and said whether he was being paid or not to defend Blagojevich, he will stand by him. “He’s going to continue to govern. He’s going to fight and still run the state. I know this governor, he can do it and he will. He is my client, and more importantly, he’s my governor,” he said. If Blagojevich finds that maintaining his post will be too difficult and the people of Illinois suffer, he will step aside, Adam added. The governor’s chief of staff, John Harris, was also arrested and charged. He has since resigned his post. Both men face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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