Defiant Blagojevich vows to fight as retrial nears

Illinois' ex-governor again declares his innocence

April 14, 2011

By Robort Wildeboer

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Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is fulfilling a pledge he made in his first press conference after he was arrested in 2008:  He's fight, fight, fighting the corruption charges against him.

With less than a week until jury selection begins in his retrial, Blagojevich called a press conference outside of his home last night to make a familiar pitch.  "I said from the very beginning that I have been falsely accused of things I never did, nor did I ever intend to do.  I'm innocent.  I've said repeatedly, I've quoted the Bible, the truth will set me free.  I believe that, in fact I know that.  The question is can we get the truth out, " the former governor said.

Blagojevich criticized federal prosecutors, saying they've brought false accusations, lying  and twisting and perverting the truth.

He was responding to a motion filed this week in which prosecutors filed a motion asking the judge to prevent Blagojevich's lawyers from talking about recorded phone calls that aren't played for the jury.

Prosecutors say neither side gets to present evidence that's not relevant to the charged crimes, and they say Blagojevich's lawyers shouldn't try to mislead the jury into thinking there's relevant information on those recordings that would prove his innocence.

A defiant Blagojevich stood outside his Ravenswood Manor home and addressed his remarks to the public.

"Everything that my life is about is in this house, my little girls and my wife.  I am fighting for my life's work.  I'm fighting for the hard work and sacrifice of my parents and the values that they taught me and the opportunities they gave me.  I'm fighting to show you, the people, that I didn't let you down.  All I'm asking for is a chance to get the evidence in."

Prosecutors want to prevent Blagojevich's lawyers from eliciting testimony from witnesses about all the good things the governor may have done in office.

Prosecutors argue that even if he did lots of good things while in office, that doesn't prove he didn't commit crimes at the same time.