Blago Defends Elvis

Former governor defends merits of Elvis' 1964 film, 'Viva Las Vegas'

By BJ Lutz, Phil Rogers and Dick Johnson
|  Thursday, Dec 17, 2009  |  Updated 12:31 PM CDT
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Elvis Collectables: Own a Hunk of Burning Love

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich wowed crowds when he sang Elvis to raise money for charity and now he's coming to the defense of Elvis Presley, the actor, and one of his films when he participates in Columbia College's "Cinema Slapdown" series Wednesday night.

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Viva Las Blago

Rod Blagojevich debates the merits of the Elvis flick "Viva Las Vegas," while his lawyers try to get President Obama to be deposed in the former governor's corruption case.
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On the same day in which his attorneys speculated they might subpoena a sitting president, Blago buttressed the seriousness of his situation by publicly debating the merits of Elvis Presley's acting career.

Specifically, Blagojevich debated Columbia College Chicago Film & Video Assistant Professor Dan Rybicky on the merits of Elvis' 1964 film 'Viva Las Vegas'.

The debate was the latest installment of Columbia College's "Cinema Slapdown" series, in which the college screens a well-known though controversial film and invites experts to argue their conflicting viewpoints.

Blagojevich said he likes "the mostly happy endings" in Elvis' films, a fate he's convinced he will also have after his upcoming trial. 

"The former governor is a big draw," said associate professor Ron Falzone, who organized the event and was also referee. "He makes no secret of being an Elvis fan so we thought that he'd be perfect."

Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office earlier this year and has been charged with scheming to trade or sell President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat.

He's denied any wrong-doing, but taking part in the event appears to be another zany moment in a case filled with zany moments.  And it may not help the governor.

"What was disclosed to the public made it look like it was almost like a zoo going on in the governor's office," said Northwestern law professor Ron Allen. "If it turns out the evidence supports that proposition, and then you have more evidence thinking that this is how the person behaves in general, I don't think that could possibly help."

Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam Jr. said Wednesday the former governor's defense team has made a request for information regarding last year's FBI interview of then-President-elect Barack Obama because it is considering whether to call the president as a witness in the June trial.

Blagojevich sings Elvis' "Treat Me Nice:"

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