Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been convicted at his impeachment trial by Illinois state senate and thrown out of office. He now becomes the first U.S. governor in more than 20 years to be removed from office by impeachment.
Blagojevich insisted Thursday he had done nothing wrong and should not be removed from office over criminal charges and complaints about his decisions that could not be proven.
"You haven't proved a crime, and you can't because it didn't happen," Blagojevich said at his Senate impeachment trial. "How can you throw a governor out of office with insufficient and incomplete evidence?"
"The whole world is watching Illinois today, and you know what? I'm tired of it," said Democratic Sen. Terry Link of the Chicago suburb of Waukegan. "You don't know whether to get angry or cry because we've been duped again. You were with the last governor, and we were with this governor," he said, pointing first to Republicans and then to his fellow Democrats.
The two-term Democratic governor spoke for 47 minutes, then smiled and winked at reporters as he passed the press box on his way out of the Senate.
Each senator was given five minutes to speak before the final vote on Blagojevich's fate. Republican Sen. Dale Righter of Mattoon called him "a devious, cynical, crass and corrupt politician."
Senators then voted unanimously to convict Blago, 59-0 and shortly thereafter, Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn was sworn in as Illinois' new governor.