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Embattled Illinois Governor Vows to Fight Charges Against Him


Embattle Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has again denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight the corruption charges against him.

In Chicago Friday, Blagojevich told reporters he is confident he will be "properly exonerated" of the charges against him, which include that he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Lawmakers in the Illinois House voted in a near-unanimous vote today to impeach him. Blagojevich said he was not surprised at all by the 114-to-one vote, saying lawmakers have tried to remove him since he won re-election in 2006. He said he is not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, and that he has faced major opposition from lawmakers for his efforts to improve health care and cut property taxes.

The matter now goes before the Illinois state Senate, which will put the governor on trial and possibly remove him from office.

Blagojevich was arrested on federal corruption charges on December 9. Since then, leaders of his own Democratic Party, including Mr. Obama, have called on him to step down, saying he can no longer effectively lead the state.

The defiant governor still named a replacement for the Senate seat, political veteran Roland Burris.

Today, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled the governor's appointment is valid, even though the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has refused to certify it.

On Thursday, Burris testified before a state panel that his appointment was not the result of any deal or exchange - legal, personal, or political.

When Blagojevich announced the pick last month, he said his legal troubles should not reflect on Burris.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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