Impeachment Trial for IL Gov. Rod Blagojevich

January 26, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The impeachment trial for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is now underway, but he won't be attending, instead Blagojevich is in New York.His impeachment trial began Monday afternoon in Springfield. But Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich won't be there, choosing instead to argue his case through the media.

Appearing Monday morning on The View and Good Morning America, Blagojevich said, "I'm talking to Americans to let them know what's happening in the land of Lincoln."

Q: Barbara Walters "Wouldn't it be better if you resigned?"

A: Blagojevich "No, that would be the worst thing, I haven't done anything wrong, I'm an innocent man."

Blagojevich's view differs greatly from what state legislators claim are grounds for his removal. His arrest in December on federal corruption charges; for, among other things, reportedly attempting to sell President Obama's senate seat to the highest bidder.

"Governor Blagojevich has taken us to a truly new low," said U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

The governor insists he's done nothing wrong, saying the impeachment process itself is flawed because it bars him from calling witnesses associated with his criminal case.

State lawmakers dismiss Blagojevich's claims saying the prosecution is working under the same rules and that the governor willfully ignored deadlines to submit witness statements.

"We have lowered the standard for the admission of evidence for the governor," said State Senator Matt Murphy (R) Illinois.

Undeterred, Blagojevich said there may be more to why state lawmakers want him removed from office: "My fellow Democrats in the legislature want me out of the way because they want a big income tax increase on the people of Illinois. Mark my words, that's coming before Memorial Day."

Speaking on Good Morning America, Governor Blagojevich said at one point he'd considered appointing Oprah Winfrey to the open Senate Seat; although it seems there was never a formal offer.

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