Without taking any opinion on whether or not Rod Blagojevich should be impeached or not, I do have an opinion on the impeachment trial. I’ve seen lots of criticism of Blagojevich for not attending his trial or mounting a defense. Having read the Illinois Senate Impeachment Trial Rules I am in agreement with Blagojevich on this one.
The fix is in. He’s not allowed to mount an effective defense and is not being afforded due process. That may be perfectly fine in an impeachment trial, but it doesn’t mean that Blagojevich should participate in what is a show trial. Why waste the time?
Here’s what I found in my reading:
- The defense is not allowed to challenge any of the prosecution’s evidence that is included in the House impeachment record. In other words, most of the evidence. —
No objection, however,
may be made against all or any part of the House impeachment record filed by the House Prosecutor with the Secretary.
- Blagojevich is not allowed to present any evidence without the permission of the U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting him. The charges from the U.S. Attorney form the core of the impeachment charges. In other words, he could only stand in front of the Illinois Senate and say
I didn’t do it. He can’t present any evidence to the contrary unless it’s already public or the U.S. Attorney approves.
Those aren’t rules that are conducive to participation. Given that set of rules, I wouldn’t participate either. The Illinois Senate should pass out the impeachment record, let everyone voting read it for a day or two, and just hold a vote. The trial is all show.