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Rod Blagojevich Trial Begins

(AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
The Rod Blagojevich saga has sometimes seemed like a circus, but according to Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald, the time had come to get down to "solemn and serious business."

Fitzgerald this afternoon opened the Illinois Senate trial of the governor, who has been accused of corruption, including the effective sale of Barack Obama's former Senate seat. The embattled governor has already been impeached by the Illinois house; if two-thirds of the state's senators vote to convict him, he will be removed from office. The Senate can also vote to ban Blagojevich from elected office in the state.

Blagojevich is boycotting the trial, arguing that the rules are stacked against him. He is not, however, boycotting the national media; the governor has already appeared on "The View" and "Good Morning America" today, and will be on Fox News this afternoon and Larry King Live this evening.

"I'm here in New York because I can't get a fair hearing in Illinois, the state Senate in Illinois," Blagojevich said today, according to the Associated Press. "They've decided, with rules that are fixed, that don't allow me as a governor the right to be able to bring in witnesses to prove that I've done nothing wrong."

On GMA and The View, the governor said he had considered Oprah Winfrey for the Senate seat to which he ultimately appointed Roland Burris; he was worried that she would turn down such an offer, however, and might not even take his call. (Winfrey later said if she had seen Blagojevich make the claim this morning while working out, she "probably would have fallen off the treadmill." She said she believed she could be senator but is not interested in the job.)

On The View, one of the hosts told Blagojevich she'd heard he did an impression of Richard Nixon; pressed for an "I am not a crook," the governor refused.

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