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Page last updated at 21:56 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 22:56 UK

No charge for Obama seat senator

Roland Burris
Mr Burris denies that he offered anything in return for his senate seat

An Illinois senator appointed to fill President Barack Obama's vacant seat will not be charged with perjury, an Illinois prosecutor has announced.

Investigators were looking into the circumstances surrounding Senator Roland Burris's appointment by then-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Mr Burris has denied offering him anything in return for his seat.

The new senator has been under scrutiny over various statements he had made about his links with Mr Blagojevich.

Ilinois prosecutor John Schmidt said on Friday that there was not enough evidence to support a perjury charge against Mr Burris.

However the senator is still the subject of an inquiry by the Senate Ethics Committee.

'Dilemma'

Mr Blagojevich was removed from office earlier this year after being indicted for allegedly attempting to "sell" one of Illinois's senate seats.

Under state law, it was Mr Blagojevich's duty to pick a replacement for Barack Obama after he entered the White House.

When he picked Mr Burris to fill the vacancy, concerns were raised that the new senator may have offered Mr Blagojevich something in return for the appointment.

At the time of his appointment, Mr Burris denied that he had spoken to any members of the governor's team about the senate seat, but later acknowledged that he had discussed it with Blagojevich aides.

The transcript of a conversation released by investigators last month indicated that Mr Burris had spoken about the seat to Mr Blagojevich's brother Robert - who was in charge of fundraising for the former governor.

"I mean, so Rob, I'm in a dilemma right now wanting to help the governor," Mr Burris told Robert Blagojevich, according to the transcript.

"I will personally do something," Mr Burris allegedly said.

Mr Burris has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.



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SEE ALSO
Burris denies 'pay-to-play' claim
27 May 09 |  Americas
Senate Democrats endorse Burris
12 Jan 09 |  Special Reports
Burris sworn in as a US senator
15 Jan 09 |  Special Reports
Illinois governor guilty of abuse
30 Jan 09 |  Americas
US prosecutors indict Blagojevich
02 Apr 09 |  Americas


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