Burris won't face perjury charge

June 19, 2009 8:21:18 PM PDT
Senator Roland Burris was back in Chicago after finding out he won't face a perjury charge over statements he made about how he got the Senate job.Burris attended a fundraiser on Friday night.

Senator Roland Burris said he was pleased with the outcome of the investigation and that he was glad the truth has prevailed. Burris said he will now put this investigation behind him and get back to serving the people of Illinois.

Senator Roland Burris left a fundraiser on Friday night at the Vain nightclub on Chicago's North Side without commenting to reporters.

But earlier Friday evening, the senator arrived at O'Hare Airport and read from a statement as he responded to the news that he would not face perjury charges.

"This matter has been fully investigated. I cooperated at every phase. I have said from the beginning I have never engaged in pay-to-play politics and I have never perjured myself. I came to this seat with honesty in a legal way," said Sen. Burris.

House Speaker Micheal Madigan made the announcement to state legislators.

Four months ago, Madigan called for the Sangamon County prosecutor to investigate whether Senator Burris committed perjury when he testified before the chambers impeachment committee about how he got his job.

State's attorney John Schmidt wrote that there is insufficient evidence to charge Senator Roland Burris with perjury.

"I have to look at the evidence that did happen, what happened and that's what we did," said Schmidt.

Republican Jim Durkin was a member of the impeachment committee. He still believes Burris was untruthful and that he misled the committee.

"I don't change my position on that fact. The fact is that lying sometimes does not constitute perjury under the statue," said Durkin.

Burris still faces a Senate ethics committee investigation. But his attorney believes the downstate finding will impact what happens in Washington.

"I think with respect to the Senate Ethics Committee, once they see this, they'll probably let it go also," said Tim Wright, Burris attorney.

An internet blog Web site said that at Friday's fundraiser Senator Burris was planning to announce that he was running in the 2010 election for the Senate seat. But later in the day, bloggers backed down on that.

When asked if was going to run in the primary in February, the senator didn't respond.


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