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Blago meets The Donald

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 4, 2010 - How do you top impeachment?

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is apparently noting his infamous anniversary with the announcement of a new job: as a celebrity apprentice on the NBC reality show hosted by Donald Trump.

One year ago this week, Blagojevich was impeached by the Illinois House for a host of allegations of wrongdoing, including charges that he tried to sell the Senate seat of newly elected President Barack Obama.

According to Glenn Selig, Blagojevich's spokesman, the ex-gov accepted the invitation to appear on "Celebrity Apprentice," which premieres March 14, so that he could raise money for a favorite charity -- and for the challenge.

"As the governor prepares for trial, he continues to receive offers and opportunities -- most of which he turns down because they are not the right fit," Selig said in a statement. "He looks forward to his day in court to clear his name for the sake of himself, his family and the people of Illinois who twice elected him governor."

The governor's designated charity is the Children's Cancer Center of Tampa, Fla. Blago followers will recognize that as the same group his wife Patti raised funds for during her reality show debut in NBC's "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here." Her first designated charity -- the Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation -- rejected her as a donor.

And SHE ate a tarantula.

Mary Delach Leonard is a veteran journalist who joined the St. Louis Beacon staff in April 2008 after a 17-year career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she was a reporter and an editor in the features section. Her work has been cited for awards by the Missouri Associated Press Managing Editors, the Missouri Press Association and the Illinois Press Association. In 2010, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis honored her with a Spirit of Justice Award in recognition of her work on the housing crisis. Leonard began her newspaper career at the Belleville News-Democrat after earning a degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where she now serves as an adjunct faculty member. She is partial to pomeranians and Cardinals.