Associated Press - December 30, 2008 3:23 PM ET
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Rod Blagojevich has defied U.S. Senate leaders and his own state's lawmakers by appointing former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.
Blagojevich announced his decision in Chicago on Tuesday with the 71-year-old Burris at his side.
The governor praised Burris' integrity and said he hopes that the allegations against him don't "taint this good and honest man."
Burris says he's eager to get to work in Washington. He says he's proud of his accomplishments and vowed to uphold the integrity of the office.
Burris says he has no connection to the charges against Blagojevich, who was arrested on Dec. 9 and accused of trying to profit from appointing Obama's replacement.
Burris was the first African-American elected to major statewide office. He's served as Illinois' comptroller and ran for governor three times - the last time losing to Blagojevich.