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Blagojevich calls impeachment a 'hanging'

Jan. 23, 2009 at 4:14 PM
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CHICAGO, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich maintained his innocence Friday, but told reporters he would not get a fair hearing at his impeachment trial in the state Senate.

Speaking at a news conference in Chicago, the governor said the impeachment trial scheduled to begin Monday in the Illinois Senate chamber in Springfield was a "hanging" and he did not consider boycotting the trial to be an act of defiance on his part.

"I'm not getting a fair trial," Blagojevich said. "They're just hanging me.

The Chicago Tribune said Friday that the governor's lawyers would not try to block the Senate impeachment trial despite his contention that it was unconstitutional.

Blagojevich said earlier in the day in an interview on WLS radio in Chicago that the impeachment was a move to usher him out of office and leave the leadership of the Illinois Legislature free to raise taxes and cow any future governor who might stand up to them.

The Tribune said the governor was on a media blitz in the Chicago area in what appeared to be an 11th-hour effort to rally public support before the trial began. When asked about it, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley repeated what he had said back in September.

"I said 'cuckoo' once, I'll say it again," Daley said. "Cuckoo."

Blagojevich was arrested by FBI agents Dec. 9 on a federal criminal complaint on corruption charges and has since been impeached 114-1 by the Illinois House. He continues to maintain his innocence and has rejected calls for his resignation.

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