Disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has no plans to resign, "at least today," his spokesman told ABC News, despite Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's announcement that she has asked the state Supreme Court today to declare Blagojevich "unable to serve," setting in motion a process that could force him out of office by the end of the day.
The Illinois Supreme Court responded with a one sentence ruling Dec. 17, rejecting efforts by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to force Governor Rod Blagojevich out of office. Without providing a reason, the court denied petitions by Madigan to find Blagojevich "unfit" for office and "politically incapable" of acting following his arrest on corrupt charges by FBI agents.
Meanwhile, late today, a spokesperson for Rahm Emanuel confirmed in an e-mail that an Associated Press story, saying that he is not a target of the investigation, is "accurate." Questions remain, however, over his contacts with Blagojevich and his staff, and Emanuel has still not said whether or not he's been contacted by the FBI for questioning.
The attempt to have Blagojevich declared unfit to serve was filed in a federal complaint which said "The nature and severity of the allegations" should force the court to "stop the governor from performing his duties," said Madigan.
She said the court should allow Lt. Governor Patrick Quinn to temporarily assume the governor's duties, under a state law that has never been used.
The attorney general said the court, at the very least, should prevent Blagojevich from filling the U.S. Senate seat he is accused of trying to sell to the highest bidder.
Blagojevich's spokesman, Lucio Guerrero, did note that the widespread calls for him to step down are "in his head."
"Not from my indication or knowledge is that on his mind, at least today," Guerrero said when asked about reports that the governor was considering resigning.
"He realizes that there are people out there who want him to resign and I'm sure it's in his head ... but it's only been three or four days and he hasn't had a chance to step back ... and reflect on what's going on. I don't know if he's come to a conclusion on that. Resignation is not something he's talking about," added Guerrero.
Guerrero said they might put out a statement later today on Attorney General Madigan's filings with the state Supreme Court, but at this point, he was not sure what they would do next, noting that he had not talked to the governor since before Madigan's press conference earlier today.
Blagojevich met this morning at his home with a group of Black ministers, declaring he would be "vindicated."
John Harris Resigns
In other news related to the scandal, Blagojevich's chief of staff John Harris has resigned, the governor's spokesman Guerrero just confirmed. Harris was arrested and arraigned Tuesday along with Blagojevich. Both were released on bond.
Harris' attorney Jim Sotos told the Associated Press that his client resigned "because it was the right thing to do, and that's all I'm going to say."
Rahm Emanuel Ducks Reporters
President-elect Barack Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, delayed going to work at the Chicago presidential transition offices today because of the media that is camped outside his home. A spokesman for Emanuel says he later showed up at the office, apparently able to sneak out of the house without being seen by reporters waiting to ask him questions.
Emanuel told an ABC News cameraman, who was invited inside Emanuel's home to use the bathroom this morning, that he's been "getting regular death threats."
"You've put my home address on national television. I'm pissed at the networks. You've intruded too much," Emanuel said, according to the cameraman.
An aide for Emanuel said late Friday afternoon that Emanuel did not make any remarks about receiving death threats. "While we appreciate this cameraman's active imagination, this report is inaccurate," said Sarah Feinberg. Responding to Emanuel's comments, ABC News went back and double-checked with the cameraman and we stand by the story.
Reporters are seeking to ask him whether he had contact with Blagojevich about the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama's election.
Emanuel has refused to comment as to whether he is the un-named presidential advisor cited in the FBI affidavit filed in the Blagojevich case. "You're wasting your time," Emanuel told a Chicago Sun-Times reporter yesterday. "I'm not going to say a word to you. I'm going to do this with my children. Don't do that. I'm a father. I have two kids. I'm not going to do it."
Feds Delay Interview With Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. -- Senate Candidate 5
The Feds have put off questioning Jesse Jackson Jr., who federal authorities have identified as Senate Candidate 5. The congressman's scheduled interview with federal agents and prosecutors in the Illinois corruption scandal has been delayed because "they have a traffic jam of people," Jackson Jr. told ABCNews.com Friday morning. He also said his supporters were not authorized to talk to Blagojevich.
According to an FBI affidavit, Jackson Jr. was being considered by Blagojevich because the governor believed emissaries of Jackson Jr. had promised to raise $1.5 million in exchange for the Senate seat.
Rev. Jesse Jackson Says He Is Not "An Emissary"
Rev. Jesse Jackson says he played no role and was not "an emissary" in alleged efforts to make a deal with Blagojevich for the appointment of his son, Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., to the U.S. Senate.
Speaking publicly for the first time, Rev. Jackson said he last met with the governor four months ago and was not the unnamed individual cited in the FBI affidavit who promised to raise up to $1million in exchange for the Senate seat.
"So, I am not an emissary. I am not targeted. And I have no accusers. That's simply not true," Jackson told ABCNews.com as he arrived in Washington Thursday for an event sponsored by Operation PUSH.
"This is strange and painful speculation," Rev. Jackson said. He said his son, the congressman, "is being tainted by the governor's speculation about his fundraising activities."
Rev. Jackson called on Blagojevich to resign and said he believed his son would emerge unscathed from the FBI investigation.
"Politics is a contact sport. Only those on the sidelines have clean uniforms," he said.
In the FBI affidavit, Blagojevich is heard on hidden microphones recounting alleged promises from "emissaries" for Rep. Jackson.
"We were approached 'pay to play.' That, you know, he'd raise me 500 grand. An emissary came. Then the other guy would raise a million, if I made him (Senate Candidate 5) a senator."
The Blagojevich Scandal
It all began Tuesday when an unsealed FBI affidavit revealed that Blagojevich wanted Obama "to put something together…something big" in exchange for going along with Obama's choice to fill his vacant U.S. Senate seat.
"I've got this thing and it's f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I'm just not giving it up for f***in' nothing. I'm not gonna do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there," Blagojevich said in a phone call secretly recorded by the FBI Nov. 5, the day after the election, according to the affidavit.
"It is conduct that would make Lincoln roll over in his grave," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in announcing the charges today in Chicago. He said the governor's efforts to "sell" the Senate seat was the "most sinister and appalling" of a range of alleged corrupt acts detailed in today's case.
Fitzgerald said, "there's no reference in the complaint to any conversations involving the president-elect or indicating that the president-elect was aware of it, and that's all I can say." His comment did not close the door on the possibility that Obama or someone on his staff may have known of some aspect of the governor's demands.
Since then, Obama has denounced Blagojevich's activities and called for him to resign. And in a letter sent to Blagojevich Wednesday, all 50 members of the U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus also called for him to resign and to not make any appointment to the Senate seat vacated by Obama.
One of Blagojevich's deputy governors, Bob Greenlee, stepped down from his post Wednesday, one day after federal agents arrested the governor. Greenlee, who appears to be "Deputy Governor A" in the complaint filed by federal prosecutors against Blagojevich, resigned without explanation.
The document describes numerous secretly recorded conversations between "Deputy Governor A" and the governor in which they strategize about how the governor can financially benefit from his power to replace Obama in the Senate, and other topics.
Blagojevich was previously linked to disgraced former political fundraiser Tony Rezko, who was convicted in June of charges stemming from him using his influence with the governor's office in a multimillion-dollar kickback scheme. Blagojevich's relationship with Rezko, who is in jail awaiting sentencing Jan. 6, was a consistent theme of Rezko's trial.