Gov., lawyers explore options to block trial

Gov: Senate impeachment trial unfair
January 22, 2009 8:46:50 PM PST
The governor and his lawyers are exploring legal options to block or at least slow the start of a Senate trial. While they won't be in Springfield Monday, the governor and his lawyers are exploring legal options to block or at least slow the start of a Senate trial. Legal history, though, is not on their side.

In the meantime, the governor is trying to play to the court of public opinion by talking to reporters on Thursday and scheduling radio show interviews on Friday to claim he's getting a raw deal.

"What the Senate and the House and the legislature are trying to do is thwart the will of the people and remove a governor elected twice by the people without a fair hearing," said Blagojevich.

The governor and his lawyers call the Senate trial a sham and so they won't be there. But whether they're there or not the trial is starting as scheduled at noon on Monday, unless the governor's lawyer can figure out a way to legally block it. The chances of that happening are very slim.

"I'm trying to find a way to get into the Supreme Court. I'm trying to find a way into federal court. Heck, I'd get into the world court if they'd take me. Anything for Rod Blagojevich," said Sam Adam Jr., the governor's lawyer.

Just over 20 years ago, then Arizona governor Evan Mecham was indicted on criminal charges. He argued that impeachment and subsequent trial in the Arizona Senate would deny him due process while his criminal case was pending. The courts didn't agree. Mecham was removed from office though he later beat the criminal wrap.

"You can't possibly defend yourself when they say you did something and they don't let you call witnesses to say you didn't do it," said Blagojevich on Thursday.

The rules do allow the governor to call witnesses on some aspects of the case against him, but not on the federal criminal allegations which are the most serious.

"Our hands are somewhat tied on it. That's not us trying to railroad the governor, that's us respecting the criminal process," said Murphy.

One of those sitting in judgment will be Dan Duffy as freshman Senator. One of his first acts will be to vote on the political fate of Rod Blagojevich.

"It's a difficult chapter but it's something that we have to do right now," said Sen. Dan Duffy, (R) Barrington.

Senate leaders say they are aware of the governor's remarks on Friday, but are declining comment. The Senate will become a tribunal at noon on Monday to begin dealing with Resolution 7, the trial of Rod Blagojevich.

As it stands now, the defense table will be empty, and, as a consequence, what was originally seen as a roughly two week trial could be over by the end of next week.