Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

CHICAGO — Rod Blagojevich’s corruption retrial heads into a critical stage, with the prosecution set to begin cross-examining the ousted Illinois governor in depth on Monday.

The Illinois House voted overwhelmingly Friday to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich, an unprecedented action that sets up a Senate trial on whether he should be thrown out for allegedly trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat.

President-elect Barack Obama has said all along that neither he nor his team was involved in any eye-popping dealmaking over filling his vacated Senate seat. Obama’s hand-picked investigator agreed.

The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel, had several discussions with Illinois Governor, Rod Blagojevich about Obama’s vacated Senate seat. According to the report, Emmanuel pushed for the appointment of Obama’s close friend, Valerie Jarret as Senator to be done by a certain time.

The speaker of the Illinois House is taking the first step toward possibly impeaching embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Businessmen with ties to both Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson discussed raising $1 million for Blagojevich to help persuade him to appoint Jackson to President-elect Barack Obama’s vacant Senate seat, according to a published report.

Barack Obama insists he didn’t have any contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich or anyone else who might have been scheming to sell the president-elect’s U.S. Senate seat. But he has not yet given his transition staff the same clean bill of health — perhaps with good reason.

With Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich defying calls for his resignation, state officials pondered reducing his power or forcing him from office amid an intensifying criminal investigation that has made him arguably the most toxic politician in America.

It has just been revealed that Congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr. is candidate number five on Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s list of prospective candidate for Obama’s vacated Senate seat.