Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blago to Show Up After All

So Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich will attend his trial -- sort of. He's expressed a desire to make his own closing argument.

But it's still a half-measure. He won't be testifying, and his argument will not constitute evidence. It'll just be argument.

For someone who's complained endlessly that the trial is stacked against him because he doesn't have a proper opportunity to present evidence, it seems bizarre to avoid whatever opportunity there is. As I pointed out previously, the trial rules do permit him to call witnesses; he just needs to apply for Senate permission for the issuance of a subpoena. As far as I can tell, he never sought permission.

Bill Clinton fought his impeachment in the impeachment trial venue, and he beat it. Blagojevich went on TV instead, didn't even send a representative to the trial, didn't attempt to call witnesses, and didn't cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses. Sorry, but his behavior seems pretty bizarre.

There's no doubt that the Governor deserves a fair trial. He's faced with a serious charge, and his defense that his statements have been taken out of context and that he was just engaged in normal political horse-trading is not a priori impossible. The Illinois Senate should carefully consider all the evidence with an open mind and determine whether the Governor is really guilty as charged. But he's not making his situation any better by refusing to provide the context out of which his statements were supposedly taken.

1 comment:

The Pedant said...

Honestly, given that impeachment is a political process and nothing short of absolute exculpation will stop the Illinois legislature from ousting Gov. Blagojevich, a collateral attack on the process seems just as effective.