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Blagojevich: Impeachment Trial a 'Sham'

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Blagojevich: Impeachment Trial a 'Sham'

Gov. Rod Blagojevich leaves his home in Chicago, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009. (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich says he agrees with his lawyers’ decision to boycott his impending impeachment trial in the Senate.

BLAGOJEVICH: They believe - rightfully so - that the rules of the Senate that don’t allow me, as the governor, to call witnesses are unfair, and deny fundamental due process...Let me be very clear. This has nothing at all to do with defiance on my part, and everything to do with respect for the office of the governor.

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

BLAGOJEVICH: You can’t possibly defend yourself, when they say you did something and they don’t let you call witnesses to say you didn’t do it.

Blagojevich says he’d like to call President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, as a witness.

BLAGOJEVICH: [Emanuel] just last Sunday made it very clear that there was nothing inappropriate in his conversations with me about who the next Senate pick is.

The governor is accused of, among other things, trying to sell President Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat.

Federal prosecutors have asked the Senate trial’s prosecution and defense not to call witnesses involved in Blagojevich’s criminal trial. The two-term governor has denied any wrongdoing.

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