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Emanuel Residency Fight Heads To Court

UPDATED 01/04/10 11:50 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Another ruling is expected in a short time in the residency fight for mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel.

As CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli reports, Cook County Circuit Court Associate Judge Mark Ballard has heard both sides of the issue in his Daley Center courtroom, and is set to issue a decision at 1 p.m.

Last month, Emanuel, who is widely regarded as the frontrunner in the mayoral race, endured a day defending himself from dozens of people who are challenging his claims that he meets the residency requirements to run for mayor.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Mike Krauser Reports


Those who did not confront Emanuel in person did so in print. Reams of legal documents have been submitted arguing that Emanuel should be kicked off the mayoral ballot.

Illinois state law says a candidate for mayor is required to have lived in the municipality where he is running for at least one year prior to the election. But exceptions are made for national service.

Emanuel has also argued all along that he intended to return to Chicago.

"My car is licensed in the city of Chicago. I pay property taxes here in the city of Chicago. I vote in the city of Chicago," Emanuel said at the hearing.

Election attorney Burton Odelson argued that "national service" would only apply to military service, not serving as chief of staff to President Barack Obama as Emanuel did.

He also argued that Emanuel's insistence that he always planned to return to Chicago did not matter.

"Though he may not have in his mind that he abandoned his residence, he did. Legally, he did," Odelson said at the residency hearings. "He signed a lease, people are living there and he's not here. It's really quite simple."

But Chicago Board of Elections hearing officer Joseph Morris disagreed, and advised that Emanuel had intended to return to the city and should stay on the ballot. The Board of Election Commissioners agreed soon afterward.

Odelson called the decision "shallow" at the time. He filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court to appeal that decision. It is this lawsuit that is to be heard Tuesday.

Odelson says he expects the case to go all the way to the state Supreme Court, and the process could take a month to settle.

CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli and WBBM Newsradio 780's Mike Krauser contributed to this report.

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