Gov. Rod Blagojevich was impeached Friday by Illinois lawmakers furious that he turned state government into a "freak show," setting the stage for an unprecedented trial in the state Senate that could get him thrown out of office.
The 114-1 vote in the Illinois House came exactly a month after Blagojevich's arrest on charges that included trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. The debate took less than 90 minutes, and not a single legislator rose in defense of the governor, who was jogging in the snow in Chicago.
Later, a defiant Blagojevich insisted again that he committed no crime, and declared: "I'm going to fight every step of the way." He portrayed himself as a victim of political payback by the House for his efforts to extend health care and other relief to ordinary people.
"The causes of the impeachment are because I've done things to fight for families," the 52-year-old Democrat said at a news conference where he surrounded himself with people that spokesman Lucio Guerrero said had benefited from the state's expanded health care program, including a man in a wheelchair and a kidney transplant recipient. He took no questions.