- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CHICAGO (AP) - Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges that accuse him _ among other things _ of trying to sell President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.

Blagojevich appeared before U.S. District Judge James Zagel in federal court in Chicago on Tuesday.

Prosecutors issued a 19-count indictment on April 2 naming Blagojevich and five members of his inner circle. Blagojevich pleaded not guilty Tuesday to all counts in a courtroom packed with spectators.

Illinois legislators kicked Blagojevich out of office in January weeks after his arrest for an alleged corruption spree.

Blagojevich and the others are accused of using the governor’s power over appointments, state contracts and legislation to squeeze kickbacks and campaign contributions from businesses and even other public officials.

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