Blagojevich's General Counsel Resigns

CHICAGO -- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's chief lawyer quit Tuesday, the latest top adviser to depart since the Democratic governor's arrest on federal corruption charges.

William Quinlan resigned as general counsel -- a state government job -- to go back to private practice, said Blagojevich spokesman Lucio Guerrero.

"Today, I have decided to resign my position as General Counsel and return to private practice," Quinlan wrote in a memo to his staff.

Quinlan is the latest high-level aide to leave the Blagojevich administration since the governor was accused by federal prosecutors earlier this month of trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. Ed Genson, a private-practice attorney from a Chicago law firm, represents Blagojevich in that case.

Blagojevich has denied any wrongdoing and has resisted calls from politicians in Illinois and in Washington to resign.

Other top departures in Blagojevich's inner circle include former chief of staff John Harris, who was arrested Dec. 9 along with his boss, and Deputy Gov. Bob Greenlee, who resigned a day after Harris and Blagojevich were arrested.

The criminal complaint against Blagojevich identifies a "Deputy Governor A" who was deeply involved in an alleged scheme to strong-arm the Chicago Tribune to fire critical writers on the orders of the governor and his wife. Greenlee's attorney has not disputed that his client is "Deputy Governor A."

Greenlee has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors had secretly recorded Blagojevich and the criminal complaint says that on Nov. 10, Blagojevich, his wife, Harris, "Governor General Counsel" and several Washington-based advisers discussed Obama's senate seat during a two-hour conference call.

Quinlan has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Quinlan did not immediately return a message Tuesday evening.

The Chicago Sun-Times has more on the statement, which only made a passing reference to Blagojevich's Dec. 9 arrest.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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