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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.
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