CHICAGO

Blagojevich Wants Emanuel As A Witness, Rips Impeachment Trial (VIDEO)

02/22/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Thursday that the state Senate Impeachment trial is unfair and denies him "fundamental due process" by not allowing him to call witnesses. He said he would like to call President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, as a witness on his behalf.

From the AP:

Blagojevich spoke to reporters outside his Chicago home Thursday morning, a day after he missed a deadline to tell the Senate which people and documents he wanted to subpoena for the trial to remove him from office.

Blagojevich says he is being denied the right to call witnesses. Federal prosecutors have asked the Senate trial's prosecution and defense not to call witnesses involved in Blagojevich's criminal trial. The governor is accused of trying to sell President Barack Obama's Senate seat.

The two-term governor has denied any wrongdoing.

Blagojevich said the state House and Senate are attempting "thwart the will of the people" by moving to remove a two-term governor who has not been convicted of a crime. He said it's his right to call witnesses in his defense like Emanuel, whom Blagojevich said "made it clear [in a TV interview] nothing inappropriate" occurred in their discussions about Obama's Senate seat.

Watch Blagojevich's remarks:

The full AP story:

CHICAGO - Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Thursday called his upcoming impeachment trial a "sham," saying it would deny him the right to due process because he couldn't call witnesses.

Blagojevich spoke to reporters outside his Chicago home Thursday morning, a day after he missed a deadline to tell the Senate which people and documents he wanted to subpoena for the trial to remove him from office.

The two-term governor is accused of abusing his power by scheming to benefit from appointing a person to fill President Barack Obama's Senate seat, circumventing hiring laws and defying General Assembly decisions. He was impeached by the state House on Jan. 9, and his trial in the state Senate is set to begin next Monday.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors have asked the Senate trial's prosecution and defense not to call witnesses involved in Blagojevich's criminal trial.

"The impeachment trial is a sham," Blagojevich said before going on his morning run.

"What the Senate and the House and Legislature is trying to do is to thwart the will of the people and remove a governor elected twice by the people without a fair hearing, without due process," he said.

Impeachment prosecutor David Ellis proposed calling only one witness involved in the criminal investigation of Blagojevich -- an FBI agent familiar with recordings of the governor's conversations. But Ellis said he would drop that request if the U.S. attorney objects.

Last week, renown defense attorney Edward M. Genson pulled out of earlier arrangements to represent Blagojevich at the impeachment trial. Two other members of the governor's defense team, attorneys Sam Adam and his son, Samuel E. Adam, also withdrew, comparing the proceedings to a "lynching." They said they didn't have adequate time to prepare or subpoena power.

On Thursday, Blagojevich said he agreed with their actions. He said the lawyers "have chosen not to participate in the impeachment process in the Senate because they believe, rightfully so, that the rules of the Senate that don't allow me as governor to call witnesses are unfair and deny fundamental due process," he said.

The governor said he would like to call Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, citing comments Emanuel recently made that he had never gotten the impression that Blagojevich wanted anything improper in return for naming a Senate replacement.

While Blagojevich ignored the filing deadline Wednesday, Ellis continued to pursue the case against him. Ellis filed documents listing the people he wants to call. Most are members of the House committee that recommended impeachment.

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