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Request for taxpayers to fund Blagojevich defense

December 18, 2008 by  

Who should pay for Blago's defense?As the hearings regarding the impeachment of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich continue, the state attorney general has denied a request that state taxpayers fund his defense.

Blagojevich’s attorney, Edward Genson, sent a letter to Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan this week, citing a state law that mandates the attorney general to represent state officials in court, the Associated Press reports.

However, because Madigan had tried to get Blagojevich removed from office she had a conflict of interest and the state should therefore pay for the governor’s lawyer of choice, Genson claimed.

However, Madigan chief of staff Ann Spillane responded in a letter by arguing that the impeachment proceedings are not being held "in court" and therefore the state of Illinois should not have to foot the bill.

She also suggested that because the governor is accused of "corruptly betraying the public trust for personal and financial gain," it did not make sense that taxpayers should pay.

It emerged last week that Blagojevich had been arrested by FBI agents for allegedly trying to sell the senate seat left vacant by Barack Obama.

Today, lawmakers are expected to hear testimony about past investigations of the governor that found evidence of improper contracts, incomplete records and careless use of tax money, according to the AP.
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