-- Brushing aside the governor's pleas of innocence, the Illinois Senate unanimously voted Thursday to remove Rod R. Blagojevich and impose a "political death penalty" that bars him from ever holding public office in the state.
The action came after a four-day impeachment trial on allegations that the Democrat had abused his power -- trying, among other things, to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder.
During several hours of deliberations, senator after senator stood up to criticize Blagojevich, the first chief executive in Illinois' long history of political corruption to be impeached and convicted.
"He reminded us today in real detail that he is an unusually good liar," Republican state Sen. Matt Murphy said. "We bent over backward to make sure that this process was fair."
After the 59-0 vote, Democratic Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn signed the oath of office and became the state's 41st governor. Among the problems awaiting him is a budget deficit of as much as $5 billion.
"There hasn't been a single piece of information that proves any wrongdoing," said Blagojevich, who was arrested at his Chicago home Dec. 9 on federal corruption charges. "How can you throw a governor out of office with insufficient and incomplete evidence?"
Blagojevich also warned senators against setting a "dangerous precedent" that would thwart the will of an electorate that twice had voted for him. "Imagine what future governors will face if I'm thrown out of office for this," Blagojevich said.
And what Kind of Dangerous Precedent were you trying to set By selling a senate seat in the first place Jackass !