Attorney: Blagojevich will not resign

December 15, 2008 8:49:42 PM PST
That's the official word from the attorney the governor hired on Monday. The vow comes as state lawmakers vote to begin impeachment hearings on Tuesday.

The embattled governor and Patty Blagojevich arrived home on Tuesday night after another long session with his attorney. Even as the state legislature moves forward with plans for impeachment hearings, Blagojevich is holding on to his office. Attorney Ed Genson has signed on to represent the governor in those hearings as well as in the federal corruption trial.

"He's not stepping aside. He hasn't done anything wrong. We're going to fight this case," said Genson.

The governor himself has yet to offer anything of substance to the media. But he says he will eventually.

"I can't wait to talk to you guys. And have a chance to be able to say the things I'm looking forward to saying but the time is right for all of that," said Gov. Blagojevich.

Meanwhile First Lady Patti Blagojevich has circulated a letter to neighbors apologizing for any inconvenience they've suffered from the throng of media following the governor's comings and goings from home.

The governor continues to come to work everyday in the meantime. On Monday he signed a bill mentioned in the federal affidavit that provides money to horse racing tracks from casino fees.

Gov. Blagojevich's possible defense

Defense attorney Ed Genson said that if he's hired by Blagojevich, he'll represent the governor in any potential impeachment proceedings as well as the federal corruption case.

And just what type of defense will the governor mount against the charges against him?

Defendants in criminal cases don't hire Ed Genson to plea. They hire him to fight their case, and that would appear to be what the governor is intent upon doing.

Genson met late Monday afternoon once again with Genson. The defense they map will have significant obstacles.

Ed Genson is wily and pugnacious. His clients, by and large, are high-profile - Ex-publisher Conrad Black, ex-Congressman Mel Reynolds, George Ryan buddy Larry Warner, singer R. Kelly, and now - most probably Rod Blagojevich.

On Monday Genson described the case against Blagojevich - that is what he knows of it at this point - as a snowball rolling downhill so fast, it's become an avalanche.

"The case I've seen so far is significantly exaggerated. It's not what people think it is," said Genson.

One very likely defense strategy is to say that the governor's comments caught on tape "are just talk", crude talk to be sure, but talk nonetheless without the action that backs it up."

"When the defense of this is talk is only as good as his actions not following the words, if the government can put actions to the words, case closed. He's going to be convicted," said Ron Safer, former assistant U.S. attorney.

Blagojevich may claim that he received no overt bribes - and that others had incentive to lie and set him up. But the government's case will ultimately be built around a larger legal concept - as it was in the George Ryan case - that what is at issue is the theft of honest services that a governor promised when he took office.

Defense counsel, and former assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Safer says any strategy for Blgojevich will be an uphill struggle. "It is an uphill fight in. This case, it is really an uphill fight, because governor blagojevich has been convicted in the court of public opinion across the country," said Safer.

That does not mean - as safer and others would say - that Rod Blagojevich could not ultimately receive a fair and impartial trial.

The cost of mounting a defense for the governor will be significant, and he will likely draw on his campaign fund to pay for at least a portion of it. Back on June 30, the last public disclosure date, the governor's campaign fund had just short of $3 million. There's been more added to it at this point and there have been expenses. As a point of scale, George Ryan's defense was in the neighborhood of $20 million.


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