Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich files lawsuit demanding right to run for office again

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is suing the state of Illinois over whether he should be allowed to run for state elected office again.

In 2009, the Illinois State Senate voted to disqualify Blagojevich from ever holding any state or local public office in Illinois.

"That resolution is the handiwork of a rigged impeachment process engineered by Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan," Blagojevich said outside the Dirksen Federal Courthouse on Monday.

Blagojevich's lawsuit claims that "the [Illinois] House impeachment hearings and the subsequent Senate trial violated due process and the Constitution, and that should those facts be allowed to come to light, the Petitioner’s claim has merit and a good likelihood of success."

Blagojevich was first elected governor of Illinois in 2002. He was reelected in 2006. In December 2008, he was arrested by FBI agents, accused of attempting to sell the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. He was eventually found guilty and sentenced to spend 14 years in prison. Blagojevich was released early, in 2020, when President Donald Trump commuted his sentence.

"The issues are very clear," Blagojevich said Monday. "It's about right to vote and it's about due process."

Blagojevich tried to paint the impeachment as part of a vendetta by Madigan and others.

"Madigan orchestrated impeachment rules and an impeachment process that denied me the opportunity to call relevant witnesses in my defense," Blagojevich said. "The fix was in."