A watchdog agency that monitors lawyers has called for Rod Blagojevich's law license to be suspended, a move seen as a likely precursor to the former governor being disbarred.
The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission submitted a request to the Illinois Supreme Court citing Blagojevich's conviction on corruption charges in June as grounds for suspending the former litigator's license.
Blagojevich's defense has until Oct. 11 to convince justices that the former governor's felony convictions for lying to the FBI and trying to sell President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat don't disqualify him from practicing law, which he hasn't done since joining Congress in 1997, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
“While the judgment of conviction has yet to be entered in respondent’s criminal case because the sentencing hearing has not been conducted, due to the egregious breadth of respondent’s conduct while governor of this state as concluded by two separate juries, an interim suspension is appropriate at this time,” wrote Jerome Larkin, administrator for the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) in the court filing submitted in late August, according to the Sun-Times.
Blagojevich has been an attorney in Illinois since 1984, the Associated Press reports. Having his license suspended would likely foreshadow the Chicago Democrat being disbarred, like two other former Illinois governors, Otto Kerner Jr. and Dan Walker, following their convictions.
Blagojevich's legal team offered the ARDC a compromise, saying Blagojevich would "withdraw" his license since he wasn't practicing, the Sun-Times reports. But the ARDC said they weren't willing to compromise--and that Blagojevich never returned paperwork the agency offered to disbar himself after his June conviction.
“‘Withdrawn’ is not a term in our art," James Grogan, the ARDC’s deputy administrator and chief counsel, told the Sun-Times. "You either disbar yourself, or the court does it for you.”
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