Obama Sworn In, Blago Fingerprinted

Highs, lows for Illinois politics

While Washington was a veritable who's who of Illinois politics witnessing the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich got little attention as he spent part of the day at the federal building getting fingerprinted.

The governor, charged with political corruption, was fingerprinted after a problem with the first prints.

Gov. Blagojevich has maintained a low profile with a Senate impeachment trial just six days away.
The second-term Democrat, whose criminal lawyers quit his impeachment defense in protest last week, missed a second deadline Tuesday to file responses to a charge that he abused his power as governor. A newly sworn-in House voted 117-1 Jan. 14 to impeach him.
As a result of his inaction, the Senate will presume that the governor pleads "not guilty" to the charge and move toward opening the historic trial on Monday, said Toby Trimmer, spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton.
The 4 p.m. deadline Tuesday was to file a request to dismiss the charge and kill the Senate proceeding, which senators, sitting as judges in the trial, would have voted on whether to grant. But there was no word from the governor or anyone representing him, Trimmer said.
Spokesman Lucio Guerrero said he didn't know what Blagojevich would do.
"He hasn't filled me in on his plans," Guerrero said.
It was the second deadline established by the Senate for the upcoming trial, unprecedented in Illinois, that the governor missed. Issued a Senate summons on Jan. 14, Blagojevich had until Saturday to file a document answering charges in the case. Neither he nor a representative submitted anything Saturday or on Monday, when the Senate secretary was available despite the state holiday, Trimmer said.
Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 on a federal complaint that he tried to trade government action for campaign contributions or a high-paying job, and in one case, in exchange for firing unfriendly newspaper editorial writers. Federal prosecutors have until April to indict him on the charges.
Chicago lawyers Ed Genson, Sam Adam and his son, Samuel E. Adam, gave up an impeachment defense on Friday, with the Adamses comparing the process to a "lynching." Genson distanced himself from such talk but said the Senate trial's outcome was a "foregone conclusion."
Genson said he would still defend Blagojevich on the federal corruption charges.
Among complaints outlined in a statement to the Chicago Tribune, the Adamses said they were not given subpoena power to call and question their own witnesses at the Senate trial.
But that's the next deadline. By 4 p.m. Wednesday, both the House prosecutor and the defense must file all requests for subpoenas of witnesses and documents, along with requests for entering evidence, including evidence not considered by the House committee that recommended impeachment.
Both sides then have until 10 a.m. Saturday to respond to the other side's requests for subpoenas and evidence.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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