Black Friday's long gone, but for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, everything including a Senate seat is still for sale. Or at least it was. Blagojevich, along with chief of staff John Harris, was arrested in Chicago on Dec. 9 on charges that included conspiring to commit wire fraud and soliciting bribes in exchange for the Illinois Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama that Blagojevich was obligated to fill. If convicted, Blagojevich, who turns 52 on Dec. 10, faces up to 30 years in prison. What a birthday ...
Born in Chicago to Serbian Orthodox parents.
Married with two daughters.
Supported himself through college by working at a meatpacking plant.
Elected to the Illinois state house in 1992.
Became Illinois' first Democratic governor in 30 years after he replaced George Ryan, currently in jail following a federal corruption conviction, in 2003.
Opted out of living in the Illinois Executive Mansion in Springfield, choosing to remain in Chicago instead.
A 2008 Rasmussen poll ranked Blagojevich the "least popular governor" in the nation. His approval rating among Illinois voters is around 4%.
First dose of negative attention came after fundraiser and adviser Tony Rezko was convicted in 2006 on corruption charges for using his influence in Blagojevich's administration to help set up a $7 million kickback scheme from companies looking to do business with the state.
"If he was an athlete, they would test him for amphetamines. He would come up clean but they would test him." One-time congressional opponent Michael P. Flanagan, on Blagojevich's endurance, Chicago Sun-Times, 2002
"Obviously, he won, but I had concerns about it ... I was concerned about whether he was ready for that." David Axelrod, pre-eminent Illinois strategist and Obama adviser, on his reluctance to get behind Blagojevich's 2002 gubernatorial campaign, The New Yorker, July 2, 2008
"The conduct would make Lincoln roll over in his grave." Federal prosecutor and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, on Blagojevich's actions during a Dec. 9 press conference
"Clearly, the charges announced today reveal that the office of the governor has become nothing more than a vehicle for self-enrichment, unrestricted by party affiliation and taking Illinois politics to a new low." Robert D. Grant, special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the FBI
"I think I'm a great governor." In a statement to the press during the Democratic National Convention, Aug. 27, 2008
"Is he teasing me or is this legit?" During a February 2006 interview on The Daily Show, after enduring several jokes at his expense. Blagojevich later claimed that he was unaware of the show's comedic nature
"I'm going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I'm saying. And if I don't get what I want and I'm not satisfied with it, then I'll just take the Senate seat myself." On finding someone to fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat, during a taped Nov. 3 conversation with an adviser
"Our recommendation is fire all those f-----g people, get 'em the f--- out of there and get us some editorial support." During a Nov. 4 phone call, in which Blagojevich instructed chief of staff Harris to urge the Chicago Tribune's owners to fire select members of the paper's editorial board
"Is this a joke?" As he was arrested in his Chicago home on the morning of Dec. 9