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Blagojevich Declares His Innocence at Impeachment Trial

Posted by tothewire on January 30, 2009

In his closing argument at his Senate impeachment trial Thursday, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich asked how he can be ousted based on a criminal complaint that hasn’t been proven. 


Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich took the floor of the state Senate Thursday to enter a plea for his political life.

Giving a closing argument at his impeachment trial, Blagojevich insisted that he’s innocent and said he decided to address the senators to appeal to their sense of fairness. 

“I’m here to to have a chance to tell the whole story, to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth and show you, the people of Illinois, that I have done nothing wrong and when the whole truth is told, that is what will be showed,” he said.

Blagojevich presented himself as a fighter for the average citizen who may have made political enemies with his hard charging style. But throwing him out of office, he said, would set a dangerous precedent.

“How can you throw a governor out of office, and you haven’t been able to show or prove any criminal wrongdoing?” he said. “How can you throw a governor out of office who is clamoring and begging to bring witnesses in?” he continued.

“I’m appealing to you and your sense of fairness,” he said, repeating that no criminal wrongdoing had been proven.

Blagojevich deviated from his central argument at times, injecting personal anecdotes that were reminiscent of the poetry and other non sequiturs that he cited on his media tour.

But his main line of defense was similar to statements he’s made since his arrest: that he is being persecuted for his good works in helping senior citizens and children and that the evidence against him is not sufficient.

“How can you impeach me for legal means with moral ends?” he said. “There is no evidence before your body that shows any wrongdoing by your governor.”

Blagojevich hinted that his style of politics is the reason he finds himself on the verge of losing his job.

“I know sometimes I push too much. But I want you to know where I come from,” he said, citing his humble background as the son of hardworking immigrants. That experience motivated him to rise to top office in Illinois, he said.

Blagojevich did not testify, which would have involved taking an oath and answering questions from the prosecutor and senators. Instead, he delivered a closing statement that was designed to be “passionate.”

It was a last-ditch attempt by Blagojevich to keep his job just hours before a possible vote to remove him from office. Blagojevich worked past midnight Wednesday on his “passionate” speech that explained why he decided to appear at the trial, his public relations firm said Thursday. 

Upon his arrival at the Capitol, Blagojevich said he’s philosophical about his circumstances but acknowledged there’s a feeling of sadness about what could be his final time walking into the Capitol as governor.

He said he hopes he gets a “fair shot” before the senators.

Blagojevich arrived as impeachment prosecutor David Ellis was giving his closing statement on the Senate floor.

Ellis said the evidence shows “a pattern of abuse of power” by Blagojevich who knew his conduct was improper.

Ellis cited snippets of secretly recorded conversations that federal prosecutors released when they arrested Blagojevich last month. He said they show Blagojevich based all his decisions on what was best for him personally, politically and legally.

Blagojevich, who was on a media blitz in New York City while the trial in the Illinois Senate carried on, has asserted his innocence and rejected numerous calls for him to resign. 

After just three days of testimony, the prosecution has rested and the Senate could vote on whether to remove Blagojevich Thursday afternoon.  

A conviction is all but certain. Blagojevich presented no defense, and virtually the entire Illinois political establishment has turned against him. The House voted 117-1 to impeach him, and the lone “no” vote came from his sister-in-law. 

Blagojevich told FOX News even he anticipates that outcome. 

“I think the fix is in. I think they have made the decision because they have rules,” he said. 

Blagojevich was arrested in November and accused by federal prosecutors of trying to sell President Obama’s vacant U.S. Senate seat to the highest bidder. 


The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


One Response to “Blagojevich Declares His Innocence at Impeachment Trial”

  1. Lawman2 said

    it’s a done deal now. he has been impeached!


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