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January 27th, 2009
03:58 PM ET

Political animal

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Jami Floyd
AC360 Contributor and Anchor of In Session

As a criminal defense attorney, I am all about the presumption of innocence. That’s what my show, Best Defense, is all about. But what Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who appeared on today’s show, doesn’t seem to fully appreciate — or doesn’t want to admit — is that the impeachment proceeding in the Senate of his home state of Illinois is not a criminal trial.

Sure they call it a “trial.” But it is not a trial, not in the truest sense of the word, the sense that matters: The constitutional sense. The various principals the governor has been touting during his two day media tour, including today, in response to my questions — such as the right to a fair and speedy trial and the right to confront the witnesses against you — are Sixth Amendment requirements and they attach only in criminal cases.

So, when the governor is tried, which I predict he will be, in federal court, he certainly will be entitled to all the protections afforded by the Sixth Amendment; and he will be entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty of criminal wrongdoing. But this current proceeding, this so called impeachment trial, well this is purely political. And, if he is anything, Rod Blagojevich is a political animal. If he knows nothing else, he should know that.


Filed under: Jami Floyd • Raw Politics • Rod Blagojevich
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Pat Canada

    Blagojevich nearly had me sold on his "Witch Hunt Theme." But the two tapes sound very suspicious. And regardless of how much PR work he does now the media won't be his Judge and Jury at trial. He's making himself look ridiculous now and should have followed Legal Advice and hit Mute he's doing himself no favours. But from what I've seen of Blago Mute is relatively an impossible feat and an innocent plea maybe just as difficult.

    January 28, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  2. Annie Kate

    Perhaps Blagojevich knows that this political trial is one he cannot win no matter what he says and he is out talking to others to sell the idea that he is getting the short end of the deal; that he really didn't do anything – all this for the real trial that will come up later. If he injects enough doubt in everyone's mind (if that is possible) he may at least save himself jail time even though his political career will be gone.

    January 27, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  3. Sam Moore

    Maybe that is exactly what he wants. Hard to get a fair trial if everyone in the country already thinks your guilty, or innocent. He very effectively got a political win with his appointment of Burris. I have heard some people say Burris was the perfect pick for Blago. Was that another example of the genius that is Gov. Rod Blagojevich?

    Or is this guy just another Baron Münchhausen?

    January 27, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  4. Heather,ca

    I dont know about anybody else, but I know as far as Im concerned I couldnt honestely say what Blago is thinking. If he wanted to make sure every citizen in his state much less the country knew everything and then some before his criminal trial for prospective jurors.Congratulations.

    January 27, 2009 at 4:11 pm |