Who will represent the governor?

Gov. Blagojevich might not present a defense at impeachment trial
January 21, 2009 3:28:41 PM PST
As the state Senate prepares for the impeachment trial of Governor Blagojevich, it appears that when the trial begins next week, no one will be there to represent the governor. Not even the governor himself. Though the governor's defense lawyers said last week that they wouldn't be party to the Senate trial, one of them left the door open slightly to a change of opinion. It now appears fairly certain, that door is most definitely closed, and when the case against Rod Blagojevich is formally launched at Noon next Monday in Springfield, the defense won't be there.

"What they're looking to do in the Senate is to have Rod Blagojevich down there with his lawyers so it looks ok. They can always come back later and say, What is Mr. Blagojevich complaining about, he had his lawyers down there? When in fact he would have no lawyer. A potted plant would be able to do what I would be able to do, and that is nothing," said Sam Adam Jr. Blagojevich Attorney.

Sam Adam Jr. says he will not be in the Senate chamber on Monday. The governor's lead attorney Ed Genson says he will not be there. And the governor is not expected to be there.

So the historic Senate trial of Rod Blagojevich will be conducted with no one sitting at the defense table.

"You go ahead Senate, you show the world what it's like Illinois, that we're gonna take your elected official away from you with an empty table there and no fairness," said Adam Jr.

The Governor's lawyers argue that there will be no due process, based in large part on this trial, - that no objection may be made against all or any part of the House impeachment record. And since they can't call any witnesses involved in the federal criminal case against Blagojevich, their belief is it's game over, the senate convicts, and the governor's out.

The senators who drew up the impeachment trial rules say they are more than fair, and even if governor's defense table is occupied only by chairs and nameplates, the proceedings start Monday at noon as scheduled.

"I can tell you this: if they throw him out like this, the Supreme Court should step in...we'd go to the Supreme Court, certainly," said Adam Jr.

There have been impeachment proceedings in other states, and efforts to block them through court action, but that's usually failed because impeachment is a political process.

The Senate had originally blocked out a couple weeks for the trial, but if there is no defense presented, it may take less than a week.