Affidavit Voluntary, Not Forced by Federal Agents, Burris Says

One month into his tenure as Ill.'s junior senator, there are already calls for Roland Burris to resign because he held information during Gov. Blagojevich's impeachment trial. Nancy Cordes reports. Video by
Associated Press
Tuesday, February 17, 2009

CHICAGO, Feb. 16 -- Sen. Roland W. Burris (D-Ill.) insisted Monday that he voluntarily submitted an affidavit outlining contacts with ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich's brother and other advisers and that the new document was not the result of contact from federal agents investigating the former governor.

"It was done because we promised the [impeachment] committee we would supplement information in case we missed anything," Burris said Monday before embarking on a trip to talk with constituents. "End of story."

Burris released an affidavit over the weekend in which he said that Blagojevich's brother Robert asked him for campaign fundraising help before Rod Blagojevich appointed Burris to the Senate.

The disclosure is at odds with Burris's testimony in January, when the Illinois House impeachment committee specifically asked whether he had ever spoken to Robert Blagojevich or aides to the now-deposed governor about the Senate seat vacated by President Obama.

Burris insisted Monday that the Feb. 4 affidavit was merely a promised supplement, not a contradiction, to his testimony before the committee and was not requested as part of the federal corruption investigation of Blagojevich's administration.

"There was no change of any of our testimony," Burris said. "We followed up as we promised the impeachment committee. . . . The information that's being reported in terms of that this was done because of a fed statement is absolutely, positively not true."

© 2009 The Washington Post Company