Saturday, January 17, 2009

What should an attorney-less Blagojevich tell us about the case’s future?

Some people are speculating that Rod Blagojevich is taking a step toward accepting reality with the announcement that his attorney, Ed Gensen, does not plan to bother fighting further the attempt by the Illinois Senate to remove the governor from office.

It could be seen as proof that Blagojevich has someone close to him who realizes the fight is over, and perhaps he could be persuaded to resign prior to “conviction” by the Illinois Senate.

OTHERS SEE IT as a conspiracy, thinking that Blagojevich is concocting a plot by which his lack of a lawyer before the Illinois Senate’s impeachment tribunal would prevent the political people from moving forward with their plans to gain retribution for years of perceived grievances.

I think both theories are a little far-fetched, although the latter is downright ridiculous.

I have always seen the whole impeachment/removal from office aspect of dealing with Blagojevich as being less significant than the criminal case that will be pending for the next couple of years in U.S. District Court.

It would appear that Gensen has come to the same realization.

HE PLANS TO earn his money (or whatever money he can get from Blagojevich, since the feds will probably take legal steps to cut him off from much of the money that exists in his campaign funds) by focusing on the criminal trial, whenever that occurs.

Gensen can sense the mood at the Statehouse in Springpatch that people who show anything less than complete disrespect to Blagojevich are perceived as somehow being immoral (just listen to the abuse state Rep. Patricia Mell, D-Chicago, took in some quarters for not voting against her brother-in-law on the issue of impeachment).

Too many legislators are determined to have their political biographies say they personally took some action that resulted in either Blagojevich being impeached (if they’re Illinois House members) or convicted (if they’re in the state Senate).

So Blagojevich is gone.

THE REAL TRICK is to see whether Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn’s prediction that the matter would be resolved by the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday will come true.

Or will Blagojevich engage in some action in coming weeks that will attempt to upstage the Legislature (or perhaps take attention away from Barack Obama, who is scheduled to take the oath of office as president on Tuesday).

Such a petty act would be totally in character with the past behavior of Blagojevich and Illinois political people in general.

With the governor gone regardless of what Gensen says or does during impeachment proceedings, it literally becomes a better use of his time to focus on the criminal case.

KEEPING HIS CLIENT out of prison (even a minimum-security federal workcamp) is a victory in and of itself, since the U.S. attorney’s office has backed itself into a corner with its rough rhetoric in the case.

There isn’t much room for them to negotiate a plea deal for less than a maximum penalty, unless U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is prepared to hold a follow-up press conference in the future where he concedes that much of his talk from Dec. 9, 2008 was a load of hot air.

He’s not about to do that. So he’s going to keep the pressure up.

In fact, the only real question I have about Blagojevich’s situation is how long will he persist in staying in office.

MANY LEGAL OBSERVERS have speculated that Blagojevich’s one bargaining chip with federal prosecutors is his ability to “resign” from office voluntarily, in exchange for a lighter sentence (perhaps one where he only winds up doing a year or two in that aforementioned work camp?)

If he lets himself get booted from office, that would appear to eliminate his last chance at avoiding some type of maximum sentence (some legal observers have speculated it could be close to 20 years in a federal prison, if a jury could be convinced that Rod Blagojevich is one of the most heinous political figures to walk this planet).

So could we see some quick resolution to this whole affair? Or is it more likely that Blagojevich has one trait in common with Fidel Castro?

By that, I mean that Castro (in his early years prior to the 1959 takeover of Cuba) gave a speech touted by Communist propagandists entitled, “History will absolve me.” The gist being that people in the future would look kindly on all his then-perceived-as eratic behavior.

DOES BLAGOJEVICH SHARE some similar belief that school children 50 or so years from how will think of his name as the ultimate victim of partisan politics?

Or is it more likely that the hard-core power politics being used by Blagojevich’s enemies will wind up making them look as ridiculous as the governor himself during his six years in office?


EDITOR’S NOTE: Rod Blagojevich is now lawyer-less ( before the Illinois Senate.

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