Emanuel takes stand in residency hearing

December 14, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The hearing wrapped up around 9 p.m. Tuesday evening but resumes on Wednesday afternoon. It will help determine if challenges to his residency can knock him off the February 22 mayoral ballot.

Near the end of his testimony, the 51-year-old Emanuel looked and sounded tired as he repeated what he'd been saying all day and night.

"Chicago's has always been our home. It has been my home when I returned here from college, from the time I worked for President Clinton to the time I worked for President Obama," said Emanuel.

At the end, the candidate appeared re-energized knowing the long-awaited long day was over.

"Having answered those questions, I look forward immediately to talking directly to the voters of the city of Chicago, because they have always focused on the top priorities ," Emanuel said after the hearing.

All but three of his interrogators were not lawyers, and the fact they had little understanding of courtroom procedure made the session tortuous at times.

"Why do you feel entitled?" asked an objector.

"Those are utterly improper questions, and I don't see the relevance of the questions so I am going to direct you to move on to another question," instructed hearing examinerJoseph Morris.

Election attorney Burt Odelson, who's being paid by supporters of other candidates in the mayor's race, showed slides of empty rooms in Emanuel's North Side house in the effort to prove the candidate doesn't live there anymore.

Odelson also used the courtroom projector to display the $5,000 a month lease Emanuel used to rent the house, and got the former congressman to admit he offered the tenant money to break the agreement after Mayor Daley announced he would not run for another term.

"I was willing to, for the period of time, make up basically for the months from basically October through the rest of the lease," Emanuel said.

But the candidate said he always intended to return to the house where he said his family still keeps its "most valuable possessions."

"Amy's wedding dress. Our family china. Our family photo albums, including our wedding photo albums," Emanuel testified.

There will be no more testimony from Emanuel. His tenants, Rob and Lori Halpin, are on the witness list and will testify later this week, possibly as soon as Wednesday.

The hearing examiner will recommend a finding to the election board that will certainly be appealed to the court system where the final decision will be made.

Twenty objectors are challenging Emanuel's residency.

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