By Mike Robinson
Sunday, February 22, 2009
CHICAGO, Feb. 21 -- Federal authorities interviewed Sen. Roland W. Burris (D-Ill.) on Saturday as part of their corruption investigation of former governor Rod Blagojevich, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The meeting was not related to Burris's testimony before state lawmakers last month about his contacts with people close to Blagojevich, Chicago media reported.
Burris declined to talk to reporters standing outside his home Saturday as he left for several hours. Earlier in the week, he said federal investigators wanted to talk to him about their probe, adding that his attorneys had been trying to set up a meeting with investigators for some time.
Burris spokesman Jim O'Connor declined to comment, as did U.S. attorney's office spokesman Randall Samborn.
A person familiar with the matter confirmed Saturday's meeting on the condition of anonymity because the matter was confidential. The Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and WMAQ-TV, citing people they did not name, reported that the meeting occurred at the Chicago offices of Burris's lawyer. Messages left Saturday for the lawyer, Timothy Wright III, were not immediately returned.
Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 on federal corruption charges, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat for money or favors.
He named Burris to the seat Dec. 30.
Blagojevich, who has denied any wrongdoing, was impeached by the Illinois House on Jan. 9. Weeks later, he was convicted and removed from office by the Illinois Senate.