Blagojevich Ousted: Ill. Senate Votes to Remove Him

State Senate votes 59-0 to remove him, and also to prevent him from returning.

ByABC News
January 29, 2009, 11:06 AM

Jan. 29, 2009— -- Hours after he was convicted unanimously this evening of abuse of power and ousted from office by the state Senate, a defiant former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he knew that he would be impeached.

"I'm obviously saddened and disappointed, but not at all surprised," he told reporters outside his Chicago house.

"The fix was in from the very beginning," Blagojevich added, again arguing that lawmakers in Springfield had set "a dangerous precedent."

Not only did lawmakers boot Blagojevich from power by a vote of 59-0, they also voted to prevent him from holding office in the state in the future, also by a vote of 59-0.

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn will take over the office of governor, effective immediately.

After the vote, Blagojevich quoted Martin Luther King Jr., broke into Spanish, fielded a few questions and greeted some supporters before eventually leaving the media horde to return back inside his residence.

At one point, he even bragged to a young boy that he could spin a basketball on all five fingers.

Blagojevich said he learned of the "foreordained result" of his conviction via a phone call.

The former governor said he had crusaded against a "phony kind of politics" and that he was "grateful" to have been able to serve the people of Illinois. He touted his accomplishments as "real things for real people."

"I love the people of Illinois today now more than I ever have before," he said, his eyes welling with tears. "I want you to know I haven't done anything wrong."

Blagojevich said that even though he's lost his job, his fight will continue.

"I'm gonna keep fighting to clear my name," he said.

"I'm not looking for any pity ... because I'll be just fine," he added.

Before the state Senate vote, Blagojevich delivered a last-gasp, combative and unapologetic address at the impeachment trial.

"There hasn't been a single piece of information that proves any wrongdoing," Blagojevich said. "You haven't proved a crime. And you can't, because it hadn't happened. You haven't given me a chance to disprove a crime because, so far, a crime has not been proven here in this impeachment proceeding. How can you throw a governor out of office with insufficient and incomplete evidence?

"There is no evidence before your body here that shows -- no evidence, zero! -- that shows there was any wrongdoing by me as governor," he told the Senate.

Until Thursday's last-ditch attempt to convince lawmakers not to remove him, Blagojevich had boycotted the Senate trial, denouncing it as unfair and unconstitutional because he could not call witnesses, which federal prosecutors said might jeopardize the criminal corruption case.

But Blagojevich decided to go to Springfield to make one final bid to keep his job, telling lawmakers that he wanted to "appeal to your sense of fairness."

"I'm asking you to acquit me and give me a chance to show my innocence," Blagojevich pleaded. He warned them, "Don't set a dangerous precedent by removing the governor, who was elected by the people, on these grounds."

Blagojevich, arrested Dec. 9 on corruption charges, including allegedly attempting to sell President Obama's former Senate seat, has steadfastly maintained his innocence and refused to step down.

"If I felt I had done something wrong, I would have resigned in December," he said. "I didn't resign then and I'm not resigning now, because I've done nothing wrong."