Blagojevich attorney pulls out of Senate trial

January 16, 2009 10:01:53 PM PST
Gov. Rod Blagojevich will be without his lead attorney when he faces his impeachment trial in the Illinois Senate.Lawyer Ed Genson says he will not participate because the impeachment process is unfair. Genson says he will represent the governor during future criminal proceedings but not the political trial.

And that is the real question because, with or without the governor or his attorneys, state senators say the impeachment trial will proceed.

His attorneys say they believe the trial will be unfair with the result a foregone conclusion.

Governor Blagojevich appeared upbeat on Friday night as he left his attorney's office after a strategy meeting, despite the fact those attorneys have decided not to represent him in Springfield during his impeachment trial.

He leaves us to shake hands with voters as if he were running for office. In fact, he has what most consider a steep uphill battle to stay in office.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Christine Rodogno says it makes no difference whether attorneys or even the governor himself show up for the trial.

"He likes a lot of theatrics. And you know what? I think we want to move beyond that. We have business to do here. It's important that we get the trial done," said Rodogno.

The governor's attorneys say they will continue to represent him in the criminal proceedings.

Lead attorney Ed Genson told ABC7 on Friday, "the process in the Senate is skewed. We can't get a meaningful hearing".

In a statement to the Chicago Tribune, attorneys Sam Adam and his son Samuel E. Adam said, "we cannot and will not degrade our client, ourselves, our oaths and our profession, as well as the office of the governor, by participating in a Potemkin-like lynching proceeding."

Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky had little to add when we caught up with him.

"The team is all together," said Sorosky.

Some legal experts believe this is all part of the governor's strategy to try to discredit the impeachment proceedings.

"He may have just said the risk was too great to compromise our ability to defend ourselves at the trial. And, therefore, let's dispense with the impeachment and take your lumps and if you are convicted, then we can focus on the criminal trial later," said Prof. Harold Krent, dean, Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Any evidence or testimony that comes up in the Senate impeachment trial can be used against the governor in the criminal trial which is why most legal experts doubt Blagojevich will testify in the impeachment trial.

The Senate convenes a week from Monday.