Emanuel to testify in residency hearing

December 10, 2010 (CHICAGO)

A hearing examiner scheduled the public questioning for next Tuesday.

Over two dozen people -- most of them citizen activists -- are trying to knock the former congressman off the 2011 city election ballot.

What was supposed to have been a routine status hearing got off to a contentious start Friday. One of citizen objectors representing himself wanted to sit up front with the lawyers.

"I'm my own attorney, you cannot tell me I can't sit here, I filed," he argued.

After the objector got his way, the meeting turned to the format for questioning Emanuel next week. After election law attorney Burt Odelson examines Emanuel for his clients and the candidate's attorneys ask their questions, each of the 25 to 30 other objectors -- all but two non-lawyers -- will get their chance to go face to face with the man who just a few weeks ago was the White House chief of staff.

"I am very concerned about because of the theatrics and the politics of some of the folks here," said Odelson.

"I assume there will be questions and we lawyers will do what lawyers do. Object, object, object? Only when it's relevant," said Mike Casper, Emanuel's lawyer, told ABC 7.

Other objectors produced long witness lists that the hearing examiners will have to approve. One challenger wanted to subpoena Chicago's FBI director Robert Grant to help determine where Emanuel lived during the past year.

"At every stage, the Chicago office of the FBI and Mr. Grant has the last year's record of his residency," he said.

Others insist on calling Amy Rule, the candidate's wife and mother of his three children, as a witness.

"Maybe, the fact she'd have to fly all the way from Washington, DC would mean that she's not actually a citizen and neither is her husband," said Alice Coffee, objector.

"Ms. Rule is not running for anything. The question is Mr. Emanuel's residence. This is simply an effort at harassing someone who is not seeking the office," Casper.

Hearing officer Joseph Morris will conduct another status hearing on Monday presumably to rule on other possible witnesses. Others likely to testify are Emanuel's tenants at his North Side house, Rob and Lori Halpin.

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