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Obama Won't Testify

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Obama Won't Testify
Obama Won't Testify

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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President Barack Obama won't be testifying in the corruption trial of Rod Blagojevich.

As expected, Judge James B. Zagel ruled Friday against subpoenaing President Barack Obama for the trial.

"The testimony of the president is not material to this case," U.S. District Judge James Zagel said today in issuing the ruling. He did say he would reconsider the motion during the trial if defense lawyers submit more evidence that they need him. 

In a filing earlier this month, defense attorneys claimed that the president could shed light on charges that Blagojevich schemed to sell or trade Obama's former U.S. Senate seat. 

That subpoena was improperly redacted and revealed details about the president's alleged interaction with Blagojevich while the former governor was searching for someone to appoint to Obama's then-open senate seat.

Even if Zagel had agreed to subpoena Obama for the trial, it's doubtful Obama would have shown. Presidents can use any number of measures and excuses -- from executive priviledge to scheduling conflicts -- to avoid testifying in trials.

In related news, Blagojevich's former chief of staff Alonzo "Lon" Monk pleaded guilty to new charges today in an effort to head off an expected decision by the Supreme Court that could have limited his testimony in the trial.

Monk will likely testify how he, Christopher Kelly and Antoin "Tony" Rezko planned to use Blagojevich's office for personal financial gain.

The Blagojevich trial is scheduled to begin in early June. 

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