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Roland Burris Questioned By Federal Authorities Saturday

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CHICAGO — Federal authorities interviewed U.S. Sen. Roland Burris on Saturday as they continued their corruption investigation of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Burris, who left his home for several hours Saturday, declined to talk to reporters standing outside. Earlier in the week, he said federal investigators wanted to talk to him about their probe into Blagojevich. Burris said his attorneys had been trying to set up a meeting with investigators for some time.

A person familiar with the matter confirmed Saturday's meeting to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the matter was confidential.

Burris spokesman Jim O'Connor declined comment, as did U.S. attorney's office spokesman Randall Samborn.

The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and WMAQ-TV, citing people they did not name, reported that the meeting occurred at the Chicago offices of Burris' lawyer. Messages left Saturday for the lawyer, Timothy Wright III, were not immediately returned.

The reports said the meeting had been delayed for weeks and was not related to investigations into Burris' testimony before state lawmakers last month about his contacts with people close to Blagojevich.

Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 on federal corruption charges, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat for money or favors. He shocked everyone by naming Burris to the seat Dec. 30.

Blagojevich, who has denied any wrongdoing, was impeached by the Illinois House on Jan. 9. Weeks later, he was convicted and removed from office by the Illinois Senate.

Burris testified before the Illinois House committee that recommended Blagojevich's impeachment that he hadn't contacted key Blagojevich staffers or offered anything in return for the Senate seat.

However, earlier this month, Burris released an affidavit saying he had spoken to several Blagojevich advisers, including the former governor's brother and finance chairman, who Burris said called three times last fall asking for fundraising help.

Burris, who has denied wrongdoing, has said he will cooperate in any investigation.

Meanwhile, a number of Democrats, including Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, have called for Burris' resignation, while the White House urged the senator to take the weekend to consider his future.

The Sangamon County state's attorney's office, which has transcripts of Burris' testimony before the impeachment committee, has said it is determining if a perjury investigation is warranted. Also, the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee has launched a preliminary investigation to determine whether to pursue the matter.

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Associated Press writers Karen Hawkins and Sophia Tareen contributed to this report.