Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been indicted on federal charges of corruption, including allegedly seeking bribes in exchange for the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama.
A federal grand jury indicted the Democrat Thursday on 16 felony counts. The indictment also charges the former governor's brother Robert and four other people. The charges include racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, and making false statements to federal agents.
Blagojevich has denied the allegations and vowed to clear his name.
The Illinois Senate in late January convicted Blagojevich of abuse of power and voted unanimously to remove him from office. He has been banned from ever holding public office in the state again.
Federal agents arrested Blagojevich in December, but he is free pending trial.
Even as Illinois lawmakers were considering whether to launch an impeachment, Blagojevich defied the political establishment and appointed a former state attorney general, Roland Burris, to the vacant Senate seat.
President Obama, who resigned from his Senate seat shortly after winning the November 4 presidential election, says he had no contact with Blagojevich or his office about the seat. Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.