The latest from today's meeting of the Illinois House Impeachment Inquiry Committee: Gov. Rod Blagojevich's attorney, Edward Genson, has begun telling members of a special House committee why he thinks they lack the grounds to recommend Blagojevich's impeachment.
Live audio/video of today's hearing
The latest from today's meeting of the Illinois House Impeachment Inquiry Committee:
11:55 a.m.: Gov. Rod Blagojevich's attorney, Edward Genson, has begun telling members of a special House committee why he thinks they lack the grounds to recommend Blagojevich's impeachment.
He just told the committee that he has no copies of the wiretaps that federal prosecutors have described in their allegations that Blagojevich tried to sell off President-elect Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat. Prosecutors have released transcripts of the words spoken by Blagojevich in the wiretaps.
"We don't know the context in which they were said," Genson said. "It's just talk."
The bottom line, he said, is that nothing in the transcripts shows that anyone was asked to give money or anything else in exchange for the Senate appointment.
Genson also has been reading from a report that another House committee issued about a decade ago when it considered the impeachment of then-Supreme Court Justice James Heiple. That committee eventually decided not to recommend Heiple's impeachment for his off-the-bench conduct, including his behavior toward police during multiple traffic stops.
Genson began today by renewing his request for the committee to subpoena some high-level aides to Obama. House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, a Chicago Democrat who is chairing the committee, turned down Genson's request.
The aides' testimony would have showed that Blagojevich did nothing wrong as he considered a replacement for Obama in the U.S. Senate, Genson said.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald asked the committee not to permit testimony from the aides because it could interfere with his office's ongoing criminal investigation.
Genson told Currie that Fitzgerald's request was inappropriate.
But Currie responded: "I have no desire to put that investigation at risk. Neither does any other member of the committee."
11 a.m.: The Illinois House committee that will recommend whether Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be impeached has just resumed work for the day.
Today, the spotlight is expected to focus on Blagojevich attorney Edward Genson as he makes a case that there is insufficient evidence to impeach the two-term Democratic governor.
The committee was created in the wake of Blagojevich's Dec. 9 arrest on federal corruption charges. The 21-member panel has been examining the criminal allegations against the governor, as well as allegations that he has abused his powers as governor through such actions as the expansion of a health care program despite lawmakers' objections.