Blagojevich's Lawyer Speaks Before Impeachment Committee

Gov. Rod Blagojevich
Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Blagojevich's Lawyer Speaks Before Impeachment Committee
By: Heartland News & AP

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The attorney for embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich is questioning the strength of the federal case against the governor.

Lawyer Ed Genson told a legislative panel Wednesday that federal investigators may have recorded the governor's conversations, but the words don't amount to illegal actions.

Speaking before the impeachment committee, Genson characterized the tapes simply as "people jabbering."

The Democratic governor was arrested last week on charges that, among other things, he was scheming to benefit from his power to appoint a U.S. senator.

Genson says there's no evidence that Blagojevich ever actually made any demands in exchange for a Senate appointment.

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CHICAGO, Ill. - 
President-elect Barack Obama says he's confident no member of his staff was involved in discussing deals for his Senate seat with disgraced Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Obama also said at a news conference Thursday -- as he's said before -- that he had no discussions about the seat he is vacating with the Democratic governor.

Blagojevich arrested by federal agents this week in connection with an alleged corruption scheme.

Obama reiterated that he was, quote "as appalled and disappointed as anyone" by the allegations of the governor's actions.

He says he's never spoken to the governor about his Senate replacement and again called on the governor to resign. He says he doesn't see a way that Blagojevich can be effective as governor.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs says the president-elect agrees with other prominent politicians that "under the current circumstances, it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois."
Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday, accused of scheming to enrich himself by selling Obama's vacant Senate seat. The governor has authority to appoint the replacement. He denies any wrongdoing.
In response to questions from The Associated Press, Gibbs said Obama believes the Illinois legislature should consider a special election to fill the seat.
Gibbs says the hope is to put a process in place to select a new senator who'll have the trust and confidence of the people of Illinois.
The governor of Illinois returned to work Wednesday after he was arrested and accused of scheming to enrich himself by selling President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich is out on bond and has denied any wrongdoing.
The governor left his home on Chicago's North Side early Wednesday and waved to the media before quickly getting into a dark SUV without talking to the reporters gathered outside his home.
A short time later, Blagojevich's SUV arrived at his office at the state office building.  The vehicle pulled into an underground garage, driving past the mass of photographers gathered outside.
A chorus of Illinois officials say Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be impeached if he doesn't resign. The move that would bring new drama to a state government already in turmoil.
Impeachment is a two-step process. First, the Illinois House would consider whether there were grounds for impeachment. Then the Senate would hold a trial.
It takes a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict, and the only possible punishments are removal from office and disqualification from holding any other office.
House Speaker Michael Madigan says he's prepared to discuss impeachment and a spokeswoman for Attorney General Lisa Madigan say she may take the issue to the Supreme Court if lawmakers don't impeach Blagojevich.
Impeachment is one way to remove the governor from office. The state's 1970 constitution also allows for the governor to remove himself temporarily.
There's also a constitutional provision which allows the state attorney general to argue his ouster before the supreme court. The justices could then remove the governor from office.
Blagojevich appeared before a federal judge Tuesday to face corruption charges.
Blagojevich left the Chicago courthouse using an underground exit and didn't speak to reporters after the brief hearing.
Blagojevich's attorney Sheldon Sorosky says Blagojevich was extremely upset by the arrest.
Sorosky says he doesn't know of any immediate plans for the governor to resign.
And the lawyer added that Blagojevich doesn't believe he's done anything wrong and asks Illinoisans to have faith in him.
The U.S. Attorney in Chicago says his office is making "no allegations" that President-elect Barack Obama was aware of any alleged scheming by arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
At a news conference on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said the corruption charges against the governor represent "a truly new low" and reiterated a number of times that there were no allegations of impropriety on Obama's part.
An FBI affidavit says the 52-year-old Democrat was intercepted on wiretaps conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife.
Fitzgerald described the situation by saying: "We were in the middle of a corruption crime spree and we wanted to stop it."
Federal prosecutors say the investigation into allegations that Blagojevich tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama found no evidence that Obama did anything wrong.
The 76-page FBI affidavit contends that governor was intercepted on wiretaps last month conspiring to shake people down, and it alleges he even considered appointing himself if he wasn't offered anything of value.
The governor has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.