Blago withdraws request for Oxford trip

March 8, 2011 9:44:21 AM PST
Rod Blagojevich's attorneys have withdrawn a motion asking a judge to let him leave the country.

The former governor had been asked to be a speaker at Oxford Union, founded in 1823 and designed to uphold the principles of free speech and debate, in Oxford, England.

Blagojevich's attorneys canceled an appearance in front of Judge James Zagel Tuesday to ask that Blagojevich be allowed to travel to England Wednesday. Blagojevich's bond prevents him from leaving the country. Attorneys had planned to ask that his bond be raised so he could travel. The motion was initially filed March 3.

Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky said Blagojevich couldn't get his travel arrangements together in time and that Blagojevich's passport had just expired. The union president asked Blagojevich to speak between March 9-12, which meant the ex-governor would have to leave Tuesday or Wednesday.

Blagojevich was convicted in August for lying to a grand jury and is facing a retrial. The Illinois House impeached the former governor in 2009. He is accused of plotting to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama, among other pay-to-play allegations.

The last time Blagojevich asked to leave the country was when he wanted to film a reality TV show "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here" in Costa Rica. Zagel denied Blagojevich's request that time. Blagojevich's wife, Patti, went instead.

As recently as Monday night, he had a cameo in a piece on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" about the Wisconsin lawmakers who fled to Illinois to avoid the budget bill vote in Madison.