Gov. Rod Blagojevich today told national television audiences how unfair it is that he cannot mount a defense in his impeachment trial in the Illinois Senate.
On Friday the governor said he was like a cowboy who's being lynched without a trial. In later interviews he likened himself to Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. Then he went to New York to appear on national talk shows and news programs.
Back in Springfield, where the Senate is hearing his impeachment case, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Fitzgerald entered a not guilty plea on behalf of the absent governor.
The governor's complaint is that he cannot mount an effective defense in the impeachment hearing. He said he wants to call witnesses to refute the charges against him.
What Blagojevich has been told by the Senate is that he cannot call certain witnesses who will be crucial to a criminal trial that is pending in U.S. District Court.
Blagojevich had planned to call a list of witnesses who he said would testify that he did not seek to enrich himself by "selling" the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama. At least they would have testified that he did not do anything illegal in conversations with them.
This defense is akin to getting testimony from people who did not see a crime, and arguing that since they did not see the crime, it must not have happened. Forget all evidence to the contrary.
It would be the rhetorical equivalent of saying "If witness XYZ did not see or hear an illegal act, it must not have happened."
Blagojevich has never given an explanation for the wiretapped conversations with advisers in which he talked about getting himself named to a high-paying job, or getting big campaign donations in return for naming a Senate replacement.
Guess we'll have to wait for the criminal case to hear the defense the governor said he's dying to share with Illinoisans.