[JURIST] The Illinois State Senate [official website] voted unanimously Thursday to convict Governor Rod Blagojevich [official website; JURIST news archive] of abuse of power and remove him from office. Blagojevich, who had been boycotting the impeachment proceedings [JURIST report], arrived on the Senate floor Thursday to make a final plea to remain in office. Although Blagojevich claimed innocence, the senators were unconvinced, voting 59-0 for removal [Chicago Tribune report]. Blagojevich is the first governor in Illinois history to be impeached and removed from office. Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn [official website] will now be sworn in as governor.
Earlier this month, the Illinois House of Representatives [official website] voted 114-1 to impeach [JURIST report]. Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested [JURIST report] last month by federal agents on charges of corruption. Both Blagojevich and Harris have been charged [DOJ press release, PDF] 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 President Barack Obama, obtaining illegal campaign contributions, and 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. Harris resigned his position after the arrest, but Blagojevich refused to resign.