The Illinois Senate has begun the first day of its impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The first witness has been called. UPDATED 4:25 p.m.

4:25 p.m.: Senate takes another break

The Illinois Senate's impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich is taking another break as senators craft questions for former assistant U.S. attorney John Scully, the first person to testify at the proceeding.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald didn't say exactly when today's session would resume, but Senate Republicans left the Senate floor to conduct their talks privately.

Scully has finished answering questions from attorney Michael Kasper, who is helping lead prosecutor David Ellis with the impeachment trial.

Scully's testimony so far has centered on the involved procedures that investigators have to follow when they want to wiretap telephone conversations.

State Capitol Bureau

3:50 p.m.: First witness called in impeachment trial

The prosecution in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment trial has called its first witness: former assistant U.S. attorney John Scully.

Scully said he would be testifying about the process that's used when investigators want to get permission to collect wiretapped conversations.

When Scully testified in front of the House impeachment committee in December, he discussed the multi-layered process, which involves getting clearance from various federal officials.

Scully's comments today appear to be following a similar path as he answers questions from Michael Kasper, an attorney assisting lead prosecutor David Ellis at the impeachment trial.

The criminal complaint against Blagojevich, alleging in part that he tried to sell Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat, relies heavily on information collected through wiretaps of the governor's telephone conversations. During the House impeachment committee hearings, attorney Edward Genson, who at the time was representing Blagojevich, claimed that the federal wiretaps were illegal.

State Capitol Bureau

3:25 p.m.: Ellis concludes opening statement

Attorney David Ellis, the prosecutor in Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment trial, just wrapped up his opening statement to the Illinois Senate.

Blagojevich liked "splashy ideas" and the public attention they generated, but he routinely violated the law in implementing his plans, Ellis said.

For instance, the attorney said, the Blagojevich administration signed a contract a few years ago to obtain flu vaccine from overseas, despite knowing that the U.S. government would not allow the vaccine to enter this country and despite knowing that Illinois didn't need the vaccine anyway.

Blagojevich's disregard of the law is part of his pattern of abuse of power, Ellis said.

"He is no longer fit to govern. He should be removed from office," he said.

After Ellis finished, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald again asked whether Blagojevich or any of his attorneys were in the Senate. If so, they would have been given time to present their own opening statement. But there was no response to Fitzgerald's inquiry.

State Capitol Bureau

3:10 p.m.: Ellis begins opening statement

David Ellis, the attorney who is acting as prosecutor in the impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is making his opening statement to the Illinois Senate. Ellis, the legal counsel to House Speaker Michael Madigan, is outlining what evidence and testimony will be presented to the senators.

Neither Blagojevich nor any attorneys on his behalf are attending the trial. The Democratic governor has denied doing anything wrong.

"An impeachment trial is not a criminal proceeding. It is not punitive in nature," Ellis told the 59 senators who will decide whether Blagojevich should be removed from office.

"The purpose of impeachment is remedial," he said, adding that it is meant to protect Illinois citizens.

Blagojevich  "repeatedly and utterly" abused the powers of his office, including when he sought to sell President Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat for his own personal benefit, Ellis said.

State Capitol Bureau

2:25 p.m.: Impeachment resumes

After a hiatus of a little more than an hour, the Illinois Senate has resumed the impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The proceedings started up again shortly after 2 p.m.

Senators used the time to meet privately -- in separate Democratic and Republican caucuses - and come up with questions for attorney David Ellis. He's prosecuting the impeachment case.

Upon starting up again, Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald said he'd ask the questions, taking turns between queries from the Democrats and queries from the Republicans.

Fitzgerald, who is presiding over the trial, also announced that anyone who might testify later in the trial should leave the Senate chamber.

In one of the questions from senators, Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, pointed out that U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has acknowledged talking with Blagojevich about the Senate vacancy resulting from Barack Obama's election as president. Dillard wanted to know why Ellis hasn't sought to subpoena Reid or any wiretapped conversations involving Reid.

Ellis answered that the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago has been willing to share only a portion of the wiretapped conversations that purport to capture Blagojevich's wrongdoing. The U.S. attorney's office has deemed this subject matter as "off limits," Ellis said.

State Capitol Bureau

1:10 p.m.: Impeachment trial takes break for caucuses

The Senate impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich is taking a break while senators meet behind closed doors for Democratic and Republican caucuses.

The trial is to resume at 1:40 p.m. Monday afternoon.

The senators are in the process of formulating questions for attorney David Ellis, who is prosecuting the impeachment case for the General Assembly.

Ellis has filed several motions. For instance, he wants to be permitted to call FBI agent Daniel Cain as a witness. Cain oversaw the interception of recordings of the governor's phone conversations, which U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald cited in charging Blagojevich with corruption.

State Capitol Bureau

12:15 p.m.: Senate begins impeachment trial

The Illinois Senate has begun the first day of its impeachment trial of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald noted that the governor is not in attendance and that the trial will proceed as if he had entered a "not guilty" plea. Neither Blagojevich nor his attorneys have filed any paperwork related to the impeachment trial.

Fitzgerald, minutes earlier, was escorted into the Senate chamber by a small group of Democratic and Republican senators.

In brief opening comments, the chief justice said: "This is a solemn and serious business that we are about to engage in."

Sen. Frank Watson, R-Greenville, took the same oath Monday that the other 58 senators took earlier with regard to the impeachment trial. He was not in Springfield when the oath was administered previously on Jan. 14.

Blagojevich is not expected to attend the trial. He spent Monday morning getting interviewed on various national television programs, including "The View" on ABC.

It's not clear how long the trial will last. The outcome will determine whether Blagojevich remains as the governor of Illinois.

State Capitol Bureau