Ill. Senate Begins Deliberating Blagojevich's Fate

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois Senate has started debating whether to remove Gov. Rod Blagojevich from office.

Democratic Sen. William Haine of Alton began deliberations by pointing out that Blagojevich presented no evidence to defend himself on the abuse-of-power charges.

And Republican Dale Righter of Mattoon called the governor "a devious, cynical, crass and corrupt politician."

Each senator can speak for up to five minutes on whether to convict Blagojevich.

They will vote later Thursday. It takes a two-thirds majority - or 40 of 59 senators - to convict.

Blagojevich addressed the Senate earlier, saying he's done nothing wrong and shouldn't be removed because of criminal allegations that haven't been proven yet.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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