U.S. Federal prosecutors on Tuesday arrested Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and his Chief of Staff John Harris on corruption charges.
At a press conference in Chicago, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald accused Blagojevich of attempting "to sell the U.S. Senate seat" that President-elect Barack Obama vacated.
Fitzgerald talked about recordings in which Blagojevich allegedly talked in frank language about how he would try to leverage the best value out of Obama's Senate seat.
Earlier media reports said that the governor was also charged with obtaining campaign contributions in exchange for other official actions.
Blagojevich and Harris were arrested simultaneously at their homes at about 6:15 a.m., according to the FBI. They were transported to FBI headquarters in Chicago, where they remained at9 a.m.
Robert Grant, FBI special agent in charge of the Chicago office, said the arrest of Blagojevich should serve as a notice that "business as usual will no longer be tolerated," and that "selling your office for personal gain is a thing of the past."
Fitzgerald said that the Illinois governor "has taken us to a truly new low," and the Tuesday arrest put a stop to "a political corruption crime spree."