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Saturday news updates

Saturday, Dec 13, 2008 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The guv hires Ed Genson

Friday, Blagojevich retained the lawyer who defended R&B singer R. Kelly and disgraced media mogul Conrad Black to represent him in his criminal case.

Ed Genson, one of Chicago’s top criminal-defense attorneys, said he was assembling a team of lawyers to assist with the case. Genson typically doesn’t represent clients who plan to plead guilty.

* And this afternoon, the governor headed over to Genson’s office. From the AP

Gov. Rod Blagojevich left his North Side home, and his vehicle was later seen parked outside the offices of a high-profile defense attorney.

The downtown building houses the offices of attorney Ed Genson. His clients have included newspaper magnate Conrad Black and R&B singer R. Kelly.

Blagojevich left his house carrying folders that appeared to be related to budget and health matters.

Genson is a heckuva lawyer. He’s tough and crafty, and he has no love for prosecutors. But he’s also a smart man. Hopefully, he’ll advise the governor to do the right thing with his office and step aside while he deals with this case.

* More

Gov. Blagojevich will decide early next week — perhaps as early as Monday — whether he should resign, a source close to the governor told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“He was blindsided by this,” the source said. “He needs some time to digest what’s going on. He’s going to make his position clear shortly.”

Let’s hope so

Already, the political, legal and financial fallout from the scandal is hitting Springfield in real ways

* On the impeachment front

On Friday, Cross had a conference call with his 52-member GOP delegation and said “at least” 45 favored launching impeachment proceedings immediately.

The same day, Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago), who is preparing an impeachment resolution independent of Madigan’s office, received commitments from 30 House Democrats to back impeachment.

All told, that’s at least 75 House members wanting the impeachment process to begin against Blagojevich. Sixty votes are necessary to get the ball rolling.

That’s way on the low side because some House Democrats have still not made their positions known.

The guv is toast if he doesn’t step aside or step down.

* Ab Mikva talks about Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s motion at the Supreme Court…

First, Mikva said, “He’s hardly entitled to the practical presumption of innocence that the average citizen is because these are the words out of his own mouth.”

Second, he said, “This is the minimum interference with the electoral process to allow the state to move.”

* But Ann Lousin thinks it’s a bad move

“I’m amazed she’s doing it. It’s a terrible idea,” said Ann Lousin, an expert on the Illinois constitution at the John Marshall School of Law.

The law, Lousin said, requires the governor to be found mentally or physically unfit for office. Since the governor is physically able to hold office, Madigan would have to prove that Blagojevich has descended into a deluded mental state, Lousin said.

Not necessarily. Lousin should’ve read the motion before spouting off like that.

* More from Lousin

“All of these calls for resignation are based on the affidavit of a single FBI agent. Does that make you happy?”

I can see her point, but these are recordings we’re talking about here.

* And ITLA throws RRB under the bus

The president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, a major campaign contributor to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, is calling for the scandal-plagued governor to step down.


  1. - Chambananon - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 2:17 pm:

    Just want to say, if nothing else, I think I can safely speak for all the CapFax readers in saying that we appreciate the hours you’re putting in on this one, Rich — and for leaving the blog open for the weekend, considering all the craziness that could potentially ensue….

  2. - fedup2 - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 2:25 pm:

    the sad part is all of the hardworking employees who are now in limbo because of the actions of a few misguided individuals

  3. - Bill Baar - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 2:33 pm:

    I thought Corboy sounded foolish. Who in the world did he think he was kicking donations too?

  4. - Gabriel - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 2:33 pm:

    Fritchey could only get 44% of his fellow Democrats to commit to impeachment proceedings?

    Wow. Mike Madigan is totally silent.

    IL Supreme Court better deny the AG’s request. The complaint actually claims the governor is disabled. If the court hears arguments they’re caseload is going to be awfully full as citizens file petitions questioning the mental capacity of every elected official in the state.

  5. - Carl Nyberg - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 2:34 pm:

    I presume an affidavit of a law enforcement about the contents of a recording are accurate if the target of the investigation doesn’t say something to the effect of, “That’s a fabrication,” or “I really don’t remember the conversation happening like that.”

    Has Fitz still got a perfect batting average on public corruption? Every subject indicted has been subsequently convicted (of the cases that have been resolved)?

  6. - Bill Baar - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 2:35 pm:

    Gab, get the feeling some folks don’t want to see this get aired in heaerings?

  7. - Lulu - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 2:36 pm:

    Blindsided… Really?! After all the things that have come out of this that has had me utterly dumbfounded and scratching my head, the notion that Blago was blindsided takes the cake — so far.

  8. - wordslinger - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 2:46 pm:

    Genson’s also a favorite lawyer of Outfit types. Given the governor on the tapes sounds like a Grand Avenue street crew capo, the choice is wholly appropriate.

    And Carl, if it ever gets that far, I’m sure the governor’s defense team’s first order of business will be an attempt to keep the tapes from being entered into evidence. Failing that, spinning them to mean something else through tone, context, etc.

  9. - Cowgirl - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 2:58 pm:

    Blago’s attorney may advise him to resign if the House moves to impeach him, as the evidence produced in the impeachment hearing, if it goes that far, could bolster the criminal case against him.

    However, Michael Madigan is still silent on impeachment. That is intriguing. Is he moving slowly so that his daughter can have her time in the spot-light? Possibly.

    It is difficult to know how the Supreme Court will rule on Lisa Madigan’s motion. It is not a certainty that the court will want to take a preemptive action, where the Legislature clearly could go through the impeachment process. Impeachment is the clear constitutional remedy in a situation where a governor has been charged with criminal conduct while in office. Madigan’s reading of the Constitution and Supreme Court Rule are rather broad in scope, and I’m not sure the Court will want to set such a precedent.

  10. - Gabriel - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 3:28 pm:

    ==Impeachment is the clear constitutional remedy in a situation where a governor has been charged with criminal conduct while in office==

    Accept he hasn’t been charged with anything. Doesn’t everything appear to be waiting on the Feds? What’s Fitz going to do?

  11. - hisgirlfriday - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 3:28 pm:

    I hadn’t heard this before, but maybe it’s common knowledge/rumor. During an interview on Thursday, Robert Cooley was on TV talking about the scandal and just in passing accused Blagojevich of having in the past run a suburban gambling operation where he paid street tax to the Outfit.

    It’s after the 13:30 mark.

    Is this the old vague “indiscretion” that MJM knew about but didn’t share with the public back in the day?

    Now if this is true that helps explain his friendship with Chris Kelly a bit more and maybe even his financial troubles.

  12. - Master of the Oblivious - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 3:29 pm:

    Don’t forget that Ed Genson was also the defense attorney for Scott Fawell and Larry Warner who was tried with George Ryan.

  13. - Bacon - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 3:33 pm:

    While AG Madigan’s arguments may seem to convey a broad reading of “disabled,” it is the job of good, creative lawyers to make such arguments on behalf of their clients. Here, the people of IL (The AG’s clients) should be thankful for such an approach, even if the ILSC doesn’t accept her office’s approach.

    Also, a careful reading of the memo and complaint will show that the “disability” in this context is not the same type of complete cognitive disability required by an insanity defense (though the act of putting forth such a defense in these circumstances would be self-reflexive indeed)

  14. - Legal Scholar - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 3:37 pm:

    Can someone explain to me how the Attorney General doesn’t have a conflict of interest here? She’s already running to compete against Blagojevich in the primary for governor in 2010, she has a direct vested interested in the outcome. Do we really want the Supreme Court to entertain challengers filing suits to declare incumbents unfit just to score political points?

  15. - Cubs Fan - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 4:01 pm:

    What about the financial woes Blago was whining about? He just got himself another high-profile and no doubt high-priced lawyer. For a man already in debt to W&S for a half-million, how is he going to pay this guy?

  16. - Bill Baar - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 4:01 pm:


  17. - Vote Quimby! - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 4:05 pm:

    For his sake, I am glad to see RRB getting a new attorney. His first said ‘most of this is just politics’ and I instantly thought how well that worked for Scott Fawell. This is the first smart thing he’s done since Tuesday. How about this scenario: sign all the ‘good’ bills on your desk, make a public statement (MOU) that you will not fill the Senate seat (or sign the bill that passes Monday), and then you hang on until impeachment. That way you pick up about another 20 grand in pay, fight tooth-and-nail the charges and get 18 months when you are convicted. Declare bankruptcy, then sell your memoirs for the retirement fund. Because if you’ve lost the trial lawyers, you’re toast. I think even you and Punkin Haid know that.

  18. - Oswego Willy - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 4:23 pm:

    Why is it that Fritchey falls all over himself to get in front of the cameras and any media-rich, targeted issue. If he is not careful, He WILL be the next Pat Quinn. At first blush, sounds pretty good, but alienating everyone for your own headlines, is not going to go over well in the long run and may lead to a step back, before his step forward.

    John, how about taking a breather for one second, and be concerned with the people of Illinois, instead of your own press.

  19. - SPFLDnet - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 4:28 pm:

    If I were Ed Genson, doing the right thing would be allowing Blagojevich to wallow in his delusions while milking him dry. Ultimately, if his sentence gets commuted, Blagojevich will still be hamstrung by debt. It’s the right thing to do.

  20. - Ghost - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 5:04 pm:

    Rich in regards to genson advising the Gov to step aside, I would bet numerous others have advised the Gov to do that already.

    The trash bins of the Gov office are lined with the resignation letters of advisors who the Gov notoriously never followed.

    If Blago followed advice, he would not be where he is today.

  21. - Gabriel - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 5:16 pm:

    ==I hadn’t heard this before, but maybe it’s common knowledge/rumor. During an interview on Thursday, Robert Cooley was on TV talking about the scandal and just in passing accused Blagojevich of having in the past run a suburban gambling operation where he paid street tax to the Outfit.==

    Umm, Robert Cooley, essentially, says in this footage that Ed Burke runs the whole state.

  22. - wordslinger - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 5:18 pm:

    Cooley’s book is worth a read. He was a player. And he’s way down on Burke.

  23. - Rod's New Guy - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 5:29 pm:

    Scott Fawell.
    Dean Bauer.
    Larrry Warner.
    Mel Reynolds.
    R Kelly.

    Ed Genson couldn’t help acquit them. Since Rod is on audio tape he won’t be able to much with those charges either.

    But, plenty more charges against Rod to come. Only two cars of the “Rod For Jailbird” campaign train have left the station and Ed might be able to derail some of the following cars. Anything under 10 years in the pokey for Rod will be a marginal win for Ed.

  24. - Cowgirl - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 5:30 pm:

    ==Accept he hasn’t been charged with anything. Doesn’t everything appear to be waiting on the Feds? What’s Fitz going to do? ==

    He has been arrested, charged, and released on bail. The criminal complaint can be read at this link:

  25. - Gabriel - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 5:36 pm:

    From Robert Cooley’s website…

    ==“The man[Cooley] is a paragon of corruption. The man is walking slime.” - Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward M. Genson==

  26. - hisgirlfriday - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 6:13 pm:

    Ha! It all comes full circle, I guess.

  27. - Mad Brown - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 6:13 pm:

    Conrad Black was still found guilty. And he’s a bagoolionare.

  28. - Six Degrees of Separation - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 6:37 pm:

    In a side note to the day’s proceedings, former Tollway exec Brian McPartlin winds up walking away from that job opportunity with engineering company McDonough. I was willing to give him some benefit of the doubt on this one, but when I read LM’s complaint, this is the correct outcome.

  29. - Emily Booth - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 10:16 pm:

    Rod leaves office next week, more people step forward after he is indicted and he is sentenced at least 9 years.

    I’m going to steal this line from a poster: a six-figure salary ain’t what it use to be.

  30. - steve schnorf - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 10:32 pm:

    Someone with all the insight that is present here tell me how it is in the Governor’s best interest to just unilaterally resign.

  31. - Six Degrees of Separation - Saturday, Dec 13, 08 @ 11:13 pm:


    Only thing I can think of…the legal meter doesn’t run as long…

  32. - Been There - Sunday, Dec 14, 08 @ 12:55 am:

    It’s late at night, but I agree with schnorf. Why would he resign? We all might want him to, but I think he should be glad Lisa filed whatever that rule number thing was with the supremes. If they agree, he is not gone. Just doing the two-step to the side. Paid and not having to worry about going to the office every day for show. Probably keeps most of the security guys and he can spend full time on his defense. My thinking is he files a weak defense to Lisa’s legal stuff and he is temporarily out.The best of both worlds.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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