Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, declaring he will "fight" until his last breath, defended himself Friday for the first time since his arrest last week on federal corruption charges.
At a news conference in downtown Chicago, a defiant Blagojevich said he is innocent and that he is certain, after battling the charges, he will be "vindicated."
"I'm here to tell you right off the bat that I'm 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," he said.
"I will fight, I will fight, I will fight until I take my last breath," he added. "I have done nothing wrong."
Prosecutors have accused Blagojevich of, among other things, trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. The state's attorney general, Lisa Madigan, tried to remove Blagojevich from office when she asked the Illinois Supreme Court to declare him unfit. But the high court refused to hear the case.
In his statement, Blagojevich put to rest any rumors that he is considering resignation.
"I'm not going to quit a job that people hired me to do because of false accusations and a political lynch mob," Blagojevich said before taking shots at Madigan, who appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" and other detractors who are pushing for him to resign.
"I'm not going to do what my accusers and political enemies have been doing," he added. "That is to talk about this case in 30-second sound bytes on "Meet the Press" or TV news."
Blagojevich did not take any questions after making his statement.
The Illinois Republican Party called any statement by Blagojevich that didn't include a resignation "unacceptable."
"For the good of the people, Rod Blagojevich should resign from office immediately and spare voters any more heartache than he's already caused," Illinois GOP Chairman Andy McKenna said in a statement.
"Illinois voters have lost faith that Blagojevich Democrats are going to do the right thing, which is why we called on Lisa Madigan to demand the legislature convene and strip Rod Blagojevich of his Senate appointment powers and give a vote to the people."
Blagojevich's attorney has said that Blagojevich would not appoint a replacement to fill Obama's Senate seat.
The Democratic governor had been itching to talk in the days since his arrest. He told reporters earlier this week he wanted to tell the people of Illinois his side of the story.
His statement came as his attorney, Ed Genson, continued to bash what's gotten his client in a legal bind: FBI wiretaps.
Genson told an Illinois House panel considering whether to recommend impeaching Blagojevich that its consideration of the recorded excerpts he cast as meaningless "jabbering" was inappropriate, if not illegal.
"I think you're using evidence that was illegally obtained," he said Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.