Beleaguered by scandal and isolated after the resignation of his chief of staff and alleged partner in corruption, Governor Rod Blagojevich has seen his options rapidly decrease since his arrest last Tuesday. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Blagojevich may resign as early as Monday rather than try to fend off certain impeachment from the Illinois state legislature. He’s not giving up on the legal front, however, as his selection of attorneys demonstrate:
Gov. Blagojevich will decide early next week — perhaps as early as Monday — whether he should resign, a source close to the governor told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“He was blindsided by this,” the source said. “He needs some time to digest what’s going on. He’s going to make his position clear shortly.”
Blindsided? Perhaps, but if so, it only demonstrates his cluelessness. Patrick Fitzgerald has run an investigation into corruption in Illinois politics for years, and while most people believe that Fitzgerald has focused on Chicago and Mayor Richard Daley, Blagojevich had to understand that Fitzgerald would take an interest in Springfield as well. That’s what makes Blagojevich’s bald attempts at enriching himself and his wife through the sale of the Senate seat so mind-bogglingly stupid.
Blagojevich might be stupid, but he’s smart enough to hire some high-powered attorneys to defend him. As Natasha Korecki and Chris Fusco report, his choice signals that there won’t be a confession in the offing:
Also Friday, Blagojevich retained the lawyer who defended R&B singer R. Kelly and disgraced media mogul Conrad Black to represent him in his criminal case.
Ed Genson, one of Chicago’s top criminal-defense attorneys, said he was assembling a team of lawyers to assist with the case. Genson typically doesn’t represent clients who plan to plead guilty.
Genson has a .500 record in these high-profile cases. He managed to get an acquittal for Kelly even with a videotape that allegedly depicted Kelly and a 14-year-old girl having sex. Black didn’t fare quite as well. He wound up with a 78-month prison sentence and a $6.1 million restitution order. Genson knows his way around media-blitz criminal cases, though, and he will spend a lot of Blagojevich’s money in attempting to keep the governor from following his predecessor into federal prison.
Some may wonder why Blagojevich just doesn’t cut a deal and try for lenient treatment. He may still do that, but Blagojevich may not have much to offer other than himself. A corrupt governor would be the top of the food chain in most instances, and John Harris’ abrupt resignation yesterday may indicate that Fitzgerald already has the big fish landed. There may also be another reason. Anyone reading that complaint will be left flabbergasted by Blagojevich’s arrogance — and that may keep him from understanding his odds in federal court against Fitzgerald.