Illinois AG set to ask state supreme court to force Blagojevich from office

[JURIST] Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan [official website] told CNN [transcript text] Thursday that she would go before the Illinois Supreme Court [official website] to have Governor Rod Blagojevich [official website] declared unfit to hold office if he did not resign or get impeached by the state legislature. Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested [JURIST report] Tuesday by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) [official website] on charges of corruption [complaint, PDF]. Madigan told CNN:

I am prepared to take action, but obviously, the easiest way for us to move on in the state of Illinois is for Governor Blagojevich to do the right thing for the people and resign. Now, it doesn't appear that he has any inclination to do that. Maybe things will change today or tomorrow. But [if] he fails to, then the two other options are obviously the legislator [sic] moving forward on impeachment, or I have the opportunity to actually go to our Illinois supreme court and ask them to declare, basically, that our governor is unable to serve, and to put in our lieutenant governor as the acting governor.
Madigan issued a statement [press release] Tuesday calling for Blagojevich's resignation. President-elect Barack Obama has also called for Blagojevich's resignation.

Both Blagojevich and Harris have been charged [DOJ press release] with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. They are accused of conspiring to sell or trade the Senate seat left vacant by Obama and obtaining illegal campaign contributions. They are also accused [Chicago Tribune report] of threatening to withhold assistance to the Chicago Tribune with the sale of Wrigley Field unless two editorial writers who had been critical of Blagojevich were fired. Both men were taken into federal custody early Tuesday morning and were released later in the day after appearing before a federal magistrate. Blagojevich reported to work on Wednesday and Thursday.

 

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