Illinois AG: One way or another, Blago must go, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

December 14, 2008 7:48:24 PM PST
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich maintained his silence today regarding his future after his arrest last week, accused of allegedly trying to sell President-elect Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder He spent a second day holed up with high-profile attorney Ed Genson, who indicated today after a long meeting with Blagojevich that he is ready to represent him.

As he left his office today, Genson initially said "no comment" numerous times when reporters asked him if he had been retained by Blagojevich, but he eventually responded.

"I have to check some conflicts, but as of now I believe I'll be retained," Genson said. "I have to check for conflicts, that's all."

Despite the governor's silence, the Illinois attorney general, making the rounds of the political talk shows in Washington, suggested Blagojevich's departure from office is imminent.

"We're really in a situation here in the state of Illinois where we don't have a governor who can legitimately govern," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said on "Face the Nation."

Madigan, who is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to remove the disgraced governor, said Blagojevich might resign, or temporarily step down to keep his salary.

Blagojevich's spokesman Lucio Guerrero on Saturday dismissed rumors that the governor was prepared to resign on Monday. But he left open the possibility that he might resign later. "Absolutely not true," Guerrero told ABC News. "There is zero chance of that... I know for sure not Monday."

The spokesman added, "I'm sure when his attorney says you need to resign, he will, but he hasn't said that and it's definitely not Monday."

Meanwhile, the Illinois legislature meets Monday to consider impeaching the governor.

Jeffrey Shaman, a law professor at DePaul University, says that process would be lengthy.

"It would have all the elements of a full-blown trial," Shaman said. "The governor would be able to defend himself and present witnesses. The attorney general with the prosecution would also present witnesses."

For Obama, the pressure is building to explain exactly what contacts his staff had with the governor's office. For six days now, he has refused to divulge such details.

Today, as Obama and his family shopped for a Christmas tree, Republicans called for a special election to fill the president-elect's former Senate seat.

They also launched an attack ad, using news reports detailing Obama's ties to the embattled Illinois governor, in an apparent attempt connect the president-elect to the growing scandal around Blagojevich.

Even prominent Democrats, including Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, have criticized the president-elect for not saying more, sooner.

"The rule of thumb is, whatever you did, say it and get it over with and make it a one-day story as opposed to a three-day story," Rendell said. "Politicians are always misjudging the intelligence of the American people."


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