Photos: Rod Blagojevich

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  1. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich leaves the federal building with his wife Patti, right, in Chicago, Dec. 7, 2011, after being sentenced for 14 years on 18 corruption counts. (M. Spencer Green / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Rod Blagojevich speaks to the media at the Federal Courthouse June 27, 2011 in Chicago. Blagojevich was convicted of 17 of the 20 charges against him, including all 11 charges related to his attempt to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat. At right, is his wife Patti. (Kiichiro Sato / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A quote taken from a taped converstaion of Blagojevich is displayed during closing arguments in the impeachment trial at the Illinois capital building Jan. 29, 2009 in Springfield. Blagojevich has been accused by federal authorities of corruption including offering to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama. The state senate found him guilty and he was removed from office the same day. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Gov. Rod Blagojevich speaks during a press conference in Chicago on Jan. 23, 2009 as his spokesman, Lucio Guerrero, listens. in Chicago, Illinois. The Illinois Senate is scheduled to begin an impeachment trial for the Governor on January 26. (Scott Olson / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Illinois Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich listens to a caller while on the air with radio talk show host Cliff Kelly at WVON in Chicago, on Friday, Jan. 23, 2009. (Paul Beaty / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Facing his jurors, Gov. Blagojevich, top center, presides over the state Senate on Jan. 14, 2009, in Springfield, Ill. Blagojevich is required to oversee the swearing-in of the Senate, which will decide whether to remove him from office after he was impeached by the House. (Jeff Roberson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Members of the Illinois House of Representatives meet to consider the impeachment of Gov. Blagojevich on Jan. 9, 2009, in Springfield, Ill. The House voted to impeach the governor with only one member voting no. (Seth Perlman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Gov. Blagojevich points to a group of his constituents during a news conference in Chicago on January 9, 2009. He argued that he had helped them and other Illinois residents with decisions he had made as governor and that the state legislature was neglecting the people's business as it tried to boot him from office. (Stephen J. Carrera / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Roland Burris, right, takes questions from reporters after Gov. Blagojevich announced on Dec. 30, 2008 that he'd selected Burris to fill Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat. Senate Democratic leaders at first vowed they would not allow Burris, or anyone appointed by Blagojevich, to take the seat, but they relented and Burris was sworn in on Jan. 15, 2009. (Paul Beaty / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Gov. Blagojevich tells reporters that he plans to fight corruption allegations made against him by federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. Blagojevich was arrested at his Chicago home by FBI agents on Dec. 9 after Fitzgerald filed a criminal complaint alleging a conspiracy by the governor and others to extract money and other benefits in exchange for Blagojevich making an appointment to the Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated after he won the 2008 election. (Tannen Maury / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, announces a criminal complaint against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. Arrested at his Chicago home by federal authorities on Dec. 9, Blagojevich has been charged with attempted bribery and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. (Tannen Maury / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, center, stands before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jan Nolan in Chicago on Dec. 9 in this courtroom artist's drawing. Blagojevich's chief of staff, John Harris, is to his left and federal prosecutor Reid Schar is on his right. The FBI arrested Blagojevich and Harris Tuesday in Chicago, alleging the Governor sought favors to influence his choice for President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. (Verna Sadock / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich discusses his plans for filling President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat the day after the election, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008 in Chicago. (M. Spencer Green / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Rallying support on Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Gov. Blagojevich gives the thumbs up to a crowd, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008. (Seth Perlman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. In June, 2008, Gov. Rod Blagojevich surveyed flood damage from a helicopter. The Mississippi River had flooded its banks near Quincy, Ill. (Paul Beaty / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Gov. Blagojevich and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger smile during a press conference at UC Berkeley on Feb. 1, 2007 in Berkeley, Calif. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Gov. Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley with Sen. Barack Obama during a rally in Chicago, April 16, 2007. (John Gress / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Gov. Blagojevich dances with his wife Patti on Jan. 7, 2007, during the Inaugural Ball in Springfield, Ill. (Seth Perlman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Gov. Rod Blagojevich takes the oath of office in Springfield, Ill., as his wife Patti looks on, Jan. 8, 2007. (Seth Perlman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Amy Blagojevich kisses her father during a visit to the Illinois State Fair Aug. 17, 2005 in Springfield, (Tim Boyle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Gov. Blagojevich talks to the press after surveying tornado damage April 21, 2004 in Utica, Ill. (Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Gov. Blagojevich speaks with President Bush following the dedication ceremonies for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum April 19, 2005 in Springfield, Ill. (Seth Perlman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Gov. Blagojevich throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the home opening game between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers on April 4, 2003 in Chicago. (Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Gov. Blagojevich appears before Abraham Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield , Ill., before talking about plans for expansion at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. (Seth Perlman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Then Governor-elect Blagojevich jogs past the Illinois' Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Ill., the day before his inauguration, Jan. 12, 2003. (Seth Perlman / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 12/10/2008 7:02:09 PM ET 2008-12-11T00:02:09

His career in shreds, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich clung defiantly to power Wednesday, ignoring a call to step down from President-elect Barack Obama and a warning that Senate Democrats will not let him appoint a new senator from the state.

"Everyone is calling for his head," said Barbara Flynn Currie, a leader in the Illinois Senate and, like the governor, a Democrat.

One day after Blagojevich's arrest, fellow Illinois politicians sought to avoid the taint of scandal-by-association.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. said at a news conference in Washington that he was Senate Candidate 5 in the government's criminal complaint — a man Blagojevich was secretly recorded as saying might be willing to pay money to gain appointment to Obama's vacant Senate seat. Jackson said he had been assured by prosecutors he was not a target of the investigation, and he emphatically said he had not engaged "whatsoever in any wrongdoing."

Other Democrats in Washington edged away from calls for a special election to fill Obama's place in the Senate, hoping that Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn would soon become governor and fill the vacancy on his own. That would assure the party of holding the seat, and on a far faster timetable than any balloting would allow.

'Business as usual'
Ensconced in his downtown office, Blagojevich gave no sign he was contemplating resigning, and dispatched his spokeswoman, Kelley Quinn, to say it was "business as usual" in his 16th-floor suite, situated a few blocks from Obama's transition headquarters.

"At the end of the day, the top priority for our office is to serve the people, and we have not lost sight of that, nor will we lose sight of that," Quinn said.

Video: Blagojevich scandal boils over One day earlier, federal prosecutors released a thick document that included excerpts of wiretapped conversations in which the governor allegedly schemed to enrich himself by offering to sell Obama's Senate seat for campaign cash or a lucrative job inside or outside government.

Blagojevich, whose 52nd birthday was Wednesday, is charged with conspiracy and solicitation to commit bribery, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and 10 years, respectively.

More than 24 hours after the arrest, Obama joined other prominent Democrats from his state in calling for Blagojevich's resignation.

"The president-elect agrees with Lt. Gov. Quinn and many others that under the current circumstances it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois," Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said in response to questions from The Associated Press.

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Asked whether Obama supports a special election, Gibbs said Obama believes the Illinois General Assembly should consider how to fill the Senate seat and "put in place a process to select a new senator that will have the trust and confidence of the people of Illinois."

Top Senate Democrats were more pointed in a letter circulated among the rank and file for signatures.

Blagojevich's resignation, followed by an appointment made by a new governor, would "be the most expeditious way for a new senator to be chosen and seated in a manner that would earn the confidence of the people of Illinois and all Americans," wrote Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and the party's second-ranking leader, Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois.

They added that if Blagojevich chose to "ignore the request of the Senate Democratic Caucus and make an appointment we would be forced to exercise our Constitutional authority ... to determine whether such a person should be seated."

The Constitution gives the Senate authority to refuse to allow a member to be sworn in.

Preparing to call a special session
Top Illinois lawmakers have said they are preparing to call the Legislature into session as early as next week to set a special election to choose Obama's successor. Many officials said Blagojevich should be impeached if he refuses to leave.

Still, it was unclear what incentive the governor had to give up his office.

His attorney said Tuesday that he is innocent, and a resignation might make him appear guilty. The office also gives him a certain amount of clout, which can help him raise money for his defense. And he may need the salary — federal prosecutors say their wiretaps also caught Blagojevich complaining about his financial problems.

"He appears to listen to no one, and his conduct becomes more outrageous as time goes on," said Steve Brown, spokesman for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat.

Brown also said that no matter when lawmakers act, Blagojevich could sit on the legislation and still pick a senator. "Despite our best efforts, the governor could play hide the ball. That is an inescapable reality," Brown said. "I'm hoping that's not the case."

The anger toward Blagojevich came amid more fallout over the scandal and new details about the case.

One of his top deputies, Bob Greenlee, resigned without announcing why. Greenlee, 33, was promoted to be a top aide to Blagojevich in June, earning $149,000 a year. Two deputy governors are listed in the criminal complaint, one as a potential Senate candidate to replace Obama and another as a Blagojevich lieutenant who was deeply involved in an alleged scheme to strong-arm the Chicago Tribune into firing some of its editorial writers critical of Blagojevich.

Neither deputy governor was identified by name in the complaint.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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