John Cullerton, president of the Illinois state Senate, which is presently deciding the fate of Rod Blagojevich, said today that the governor wants to make a closing statement at his impeachment trial tomorrow. Cullerton pointed out that Blagojevich doesn't necessarily want to testify; that would put him in the position of answering questions from lawmakers.
This would be the governor's first appearance at the trial. Currently on a media blitz, he has refused to show up in Springfield because he says the rules governing the trial are unfair. He is not, for example, allowed to call witnesses, and the gov wants to bring White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. to the stand to back up his claim that he never suggested anything illegal in his conversations with them about the Obama Senate seat.
The Illinois House voted 117-1 to impeach Blagojevich on Jan. 9 — one month after his arrest on corruption charges. A two-thirds vote — 40 of the 59 senators — is needed to remove him from office. The vote could take place tomorrow.
If Blagojevich is removed, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, his fellow Democrat, would become governor.