Around the Nation

Around the Nation

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blagojevich Considers A Court Challenge

CHICAGO -- Facing almost certain ouster in an Illinois Senate impeachment trial, Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) might ask the courts to step in and block a proceeding that he considers "a sham," a Blagojevich attorney said Thursday.

Lawyer Samuel E. Adam said that a lawsuit challenging what he called "completely unfair" Senate trial rules is being prepared and could be filed to the state Supreme Court within days.

The two-term Democratic governor, whose trial starts Monday, said he has no intention of mounting a defense unless rules are changed.

"Give me a right to call witnesses, give me a right to subpoena witnesses and documents, to properly prepare a case, and I'll be the first one there," Blagojevich said, his voice rising. Otherwise, he said, "I'm not going to be a party to a process like that."

Blagojevich added that he does not intend to resign. "I've done absolutely nothing wrong," he said.

The state Senate plans to begin the trial regardless of whether Blagojevich participates, said Rikeesha Phelon, a spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton.

The FBI arrested Blagojevich on Dec. 9 on corruption charges, including the allegation that he schemed to benefit from his power to name President Obama's replacement in the Senate.

Pilot Tied to Financial Misdeeds

INDIANAPOLIS -- Marcus Schrenker, an Indiana financial adviser accused of trying to fake his death in a plane crash, improperly moved money from accounts, forged signatures on investment documents and charged exorbitant fees for years, investors testified at a hearing. Meanwhile, Schrenker was in federal court in Pensacola, Fla., where he pleaded not guilty to charges of deliberately crashing his airplane and making a false distress call. Judge Roger Vinson ordered the pilot sent for a psychiatric evaluation after Schrenker's attorney said that he is not mentally competent to stand trial.

Vets From Alaskan Force Lose Pay

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