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Blagojevich lawyers to boycott impeachment proceedings

[JURIST] Lawyers for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich [official website; JURIST news archive] announced Friday that they will boycott impeachment proceedings against Blagojevich in the Illinois State Senate [official website]. The lawyers, Edward Genson, Sam Adam, and Sam Adam, Jr., will boycott the impeachment proceedings [Chicago Tribune report] as a protest against Senate procedures they believe will rob Blagojevich of his due process rights. Genson called the rules of the impeachment trial unfair [AP report], and characterized the governor's impeachment as a foregone conclusion. The impeachment proceedings are scheduled to begin on January 26 at the Illinois State Senate in Springfield.

Last week, the Illinois House of Representatives [official website] voted 114-1 to impeach Blagojevich, after a House committee voted unanimously to recommend the impeachment [JURIST report]. Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris were arrested [JURIST report] last month by federal agents on charges of corruption. Both Blagojevich and Harris have been charged [DOJ press release, PDF] with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery. They are accused of conspiring to sell or trade the senate seat left vacant by Obama and obtaining illegal campaign contributions. They are also accused of threatening to withhold assistance to the Chicago Tribune with the sale of Wrigley Field unless two editorial writers who had been critical of Blagojevich were fired. Harris resigned his position after the arrest, while Blagojevich has continued to report to work. Last month, the Illinois Supreme Court [official website] rejected [JURIST report] a bid by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan [official profile] to have Blagojevich temporarily removed from office [JURIST report].

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