December 14th, 2008
03:05 PM ET
5 years ago

Illinois governor may step aside Monday, AG says

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the state Supreme Court to temporarily remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked the state Supreme Court to temporarily remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich

(CNN) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Sunday that embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich may step aside on Monday.

"We have heard that there is a possibility that tomorrow he will make an announcement that he will step aside," Madigan told NBC's "Meet the Press."

She added, "I don't know if that means he will resign or take another option that's provided under the Illinois constitution where he can voluntarily recognize that there is serious impediment to his ability to carry out his duties and, therefore, temporarily remove himself."

But Lucio Guerrero, spokesman for Blagojevich, said the governor "is not resigning tomorrow."

"I know of no event or action the governor is doing today or tomorrow," said Guerrero.

The governor was arrested Tuesday, after federal prosecutors accused the him of trying to "sell" President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat by pressuring possible candidates to provide campaign contributions and other favors. Illinois law gives the governor the sole power to appointment interim senators. Blagojevich's arrest has thrown Illinois politics into chaos, and many of the state's political leaders - and Obama - have called on the governor to resign.

On Friday, Madigan petitioned the state Supreme Court to temporarily remove Blagojevich from office or, at least, strip him of some of his authority, arguing that Blagojevich was "disabled" and cannot carry out the functions of his office.

"We are not looking to try to convict him criminally with the pleadings that we brought to the Illinois Supreme Court," Madigan said Sunday. "We're simply recognizing that these are extraordinary, unprecedented circumstances and that we need to have a governor who can actually use the powers of that office and govern our state or else our state becomes paralyzed."

"There is also this serious concern that absolutely everything that he does from here on out is going to be tainted. It's going to be illegitimate," she added. "And so we think it is absolutely obvious that he is incapable of governing and the best thing to do is to move aside."

If Blagojevich does resign, or if the Supreme Court removes him from office, Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn would become acting governor. On Sunday, Quinn again called on the governor to leave office voluntarily.

"I hope the governor does resign," Quinn said. "I think that is best for the people of Illinois as well as himself and his family. ... He obviously needs to do something because our state is in crisis."


Filed under: Illinois • Rod Blagojevich
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