Analysis: Blagojevich Previews Courtroom Defense

This analysis is by CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen


(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
In his appeal to the Illinois state Senate, Gov. Rod Blagojevich was calm, he was organized and he was a lot less fiesty and argumentative than he had been earlier in the week on all those talk shows.

His appeal was simple: I may be a rough and tumble governor who likes to cut through red tape and who pushes too hard, but my motives were always good and my conduct was always legal. That's a tough sell in politics or law.

Even if it doesn't save his job, we clearly saw a preview of the defense he'll offer in federal court if and when he is indicted on those bribery and corruption charges that led to his impeachment. He's going to say the evidence is weak, that what he did is what politicians do, and that he had no criminal intent during all those alleged pay for play phone calls.

He said that there were no taped conversations where he INTENDED to break any law -- and place the emphasis on the word INTENDED. He's arguing before the Senate, and he'll probably argue in federal court, that even if he did something that was technically illegal he had no criminal intent.

It's a technical argument, it's used often, and it rarely works.

He complained throughout the speech that he was precluded from bringing in his own witnesses and presenting his own evidence but he never showed up for trial until the end.

He tried over and over again to portray himself as a victim. But I'm not sure that's how those lawmakers perceive him, especially after he missed most of his trial because he was doing the talk-show circuit in New York.

Read more about Blagojevich's statement here.
  • Andrew Cohen

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