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Blago Asks to Subpoena President Obama

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Blago Asks  to Subpoena President Obama
Blago Asks  to Subpoena President Obama

Associated Press

Gov. Rod Blagojevich, D-Ill., left, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., center, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are sworn in before giving testimony at the Base Closure and Realignment Commission hearings at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Monday, June 20, 2005. Representatives from Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin will present their case to the commission.

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Editor's note: The subpoena request, which was intended to be heavily redacted, was improperly blacked out and the information is easily viewable following simple editing procedures. NBC has published an analysis of those redactions here.

In what appears to be yet another sensational move, former governor Rod Blagojevich's defense team asked Thursday to issue a trial subpoena to the President of the United States of America.

They plan to call President Obama as a corroborating witness, because they say he can verify that Blagojevich didn't try to sell his seat.

After Blagojevich was indicted, Obama and his staff sat down for interviews with federal prosecutors  to talk about ties to convicted developer Tony Rezko and Blagojevich's attempts to make deals for a senate seat appointment.

Blagojevich's lawyers filed a motion for the notes in December, but say they never received them.

"As of today's date, the defense has not received any notes, transcripts, or reports from President Obama's interview with the government," defense lawyers wrote in the subpoena.

The Blago defense contends that Obama's public statements -- that no representatives of his took part in any deals for the seat --- don't jibe with the prosecution's interviews.

"President Obama has direct knowledge to allegations made in the indictment," defense lawyers wrote in their filing. "In addition, President Obama's public statements contradict other witness statements,specifically those made by labor union official and Senate Candidate B (Valerie Jarrett). It is anticipated that labor union official will be a witness for the government. His accounts of events directly related to the charges in the indictment are contradicted by President Obama's public statement."

It's unclear if the President would agree to testify. The White House has not responded to the request to subpoena at this time.

Presidents can cite a number of reasons -- including national security, executive privilege or scheduling conflicts -- to avoid testifying. But presidential testimony is not without precedent: former President Clinton taped a video deposition in a civil case while in office.

The defense said it would ask the president to tape his deposition, but that move would be up to Judge James B. Zagel.  Blagojevich's corruption trial begins in six weeks.

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