CHICAGO - Ten days after his arrest on federal corruption charges and two days into an Illinois House impeachment committee hearing, a defiant Gov. Rod Blagojevich made his first public statement Friday, declaring his innocence and vowing to stay in office.

"I will fight, I will fight, I will fight until I take my last breath," Blagojevich said at a brief appearance last Friday afternoon at the state building in downtown Chicago. He asked the people of Illinois to "wait and be patient, sit back, and take a deep breath and please reserve judgment."

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