Blago Vows to Testify

We've heard that before

By Steve Rhodes
|  Friday, Dec 11, 2009  |  Updated 3:36 PM CDT
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Illinois Politics Goes MAD

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Blagojevich said on the radio that he'd testify at his trial.

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He's just crazy enough to do it.

But don't get too excited yet about Rod Blagojevich's vow over the weekend to testify at his upcoming trial. Political defendants have a habit of making and then breaking that vow as they try to garner pre-trial public support.

Blago's predecessor, George Ryan, for example, reportedly wanted to testify on his own behalf at trial in the worst way. And through much of his trial, defense lawyer Dan Webb indicated that his client would take the stand to clear his name.

(Ryan's defense fund even raised money with a website stating three reasons why Webb said Ryan would be found not guilty, including:  "When the jury sees him testify as a man who has spent 40 years in public service and who is the only governor in history to take it upon himself to fix a broken down death penalty system, the jury will agree that the character of this man does not fit with the charges.")

But when the time came, Webb didn't let Ryan anywhere near the stand. His excuse? "I don't believe the government has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt."

Ryan is now in a federal prison camp serving a six-year sentence.

With Blago, we can look to an even more recent example - Blago's. He refused to speak at his impeachment trial until state legislative leaders bent their rules and allowed Blago to come to Springfield and give a speech on his behalf.

The federal judiciary won't be as generous; cross-examination will not be waived.

"I am going to testify at my trial," Blago announced on WLS-AM on Sunday. "I will answer each and every question asked of me."

Don't believe it until you see it.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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