Friday, January 23, 2009

Gov. Blagojevich Claims Impeachment Trial is "Unfair"

From Crain's Chicago Business

(AP) — Impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he's not being defiant in boycotting his Senate impeachment trial next week, but that it's because the process is unfair.

At a news conference Friday, Blagojevich said under the Senate rules his constitutional rights were being trampled because he cannot call all the witnesses that he wants.

The two-term governor faces a Senate impeachment trial starting Monday that will determine if he will keep his job. The Senate rules bar testimony from anyone federal prosecutors say would jeopardize the criminal corruption trial against Blagojevich.

Blagojevich is accused of, among other things, scheming to benefit from his power to name President Barack Obama's replacement in the U.S. Senate.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

Blagojevich also said at the press conference that fellow Democrats want him out of office so they can raise income taxes.

He also called upon the state's newspaper editorial boards to urge the state Senate to change the rules of his impeachment trial.

Blagojevich said he's "mostly" done the right thing for the people of Illinois and he called on newspapers to "get involved."

Blagojevich wants the trial's rules changed so that he can call any witness he'd like. Senators, however, have said they won't allow any testimony that might interfere with the criminal investigation against the governor.

Blagojevich specifically mentioned Chicago's two largest newspapers, the Tribune and the Sun-Times.

Federal authorities have accused Blagojevich of pressuring the Chicago Tribune to fire editorial writers who had been critical of him.

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