CHICAGO, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich emphatically declared his innocence of official criminal wrongdoing Friday, vowing to fight the accusations.
"I'm here to tell you right off the bat that I am not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing, that I intend to stay on the job and I will fight this thing every step of the way," Blagojevich said of federal accusations of corruption, including an allegation that he tried to peddle President-elect Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.
"I will fight, I will fight, I will fight until I take my last breath," the governor said in a brief news conference. "I've done nothing wrong and I'm not going to quit a job that the people hired me to do."
Blagojevich said he wouldn't "do what my accusers and political enemies have been doing" by talking about the case "in 30-second sound bites."
He said he was "dying to answer these charges" and would do so in the "appropriate forum" of a courtroom, where "I am absolutely certain that I will be vindicated."
He asked Illinoisans to "please reserve judgment" about him and afford him the same rights as they would expect if they were accused of wrongdoing.
He also thanked his supporters for their good thoughts, prayers and kindnesses.
"It's kinda lonely right now." he said. "But I have on my side the most powerful ally there is, and that's the truth."
Sam Adams, a member of Blagojevich's defense team, said the governor would not resign unless the situation becomes such that it would be detrimental to the state, Chicago media reported. If that happens, people could look for a resignation "when it's time for the Easter bunny."
Adams also said Blagojevich would not appoint Obama's successor.