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MSNBC'S Tamron Hall's exclusive interview with impeachment Blagojevich attorney Ed Gensen. "This case is a fairy tale." Transcript.


WASHINGTON--Ed Gensen, attorney for Gov. Blagojevich, is fighting every aspect of the bid by the Illinois House to impeach him. Gensen told MSNBC's Tamron Hall on Thursday, "the case is a fairytale, the process is a witchunt."


NEW YORK - December 18, 2008 - Following is a transcript of MSNBC's Tamron
Hall's exclusive interview with Ed Genson, lead attorney for Governor Rod

HALL: And here to talk with us today now is Ed Genson, lead attorney for
Governor Rod Blagojevich, thanks for making time for us here. Yesterday you
called this proceeding a fairytale, what's going with the case against, uh, your

GENSON: Well, the case is a fairytale, the process is a witchunt. The fact of
the matter is, uh, I don't know that Illinois is doing itself any credit. In the
light of the scandal, in the light of the problems that the image of the state
of Illinois is having, it seems to me that to put together a process, which
deprives, uh the governor of any sort of rights whatsoever, does not do Illinois

HALL: And you said yesterday Ed that you'd like some of these lawmakers who are,
uh, in this hearing, who are judging if you will, even though this is not a
criminal proceeding but they are certainly looking at impeaching the governor
there, you say some of these people are compromised, that they should not be
participating in the process, why not?

GENSON: Because a good majority of this panel has gotten up since the panel has
started, and made speeches against, uh, the governor. that's not what you call
due process, that's not what you call a neutral forum. [Tamron interrupts: Ed,
let's go back to...]...Genson continues, "They, they don't, they don't belong on
this panel."

HALL: Let me go back to the press conference that was held by uh, Patrick
Fitzgerald. It was one that was mesmerizing to say the least, they made very
strong case, at least, before the public at a news conference against your
client, saying that they had him on countless tapes, countless conversations of
him trying to sell or trade, the senate seat to be vacated by Barack Obama. From
what you've been able to see against, uh, the evidence, if you will, or any
indications of the evidence, against your client, why are you so confident
you're going to be able to beat, whatever indictment that comes down here?

GENSON: The tapes are, the tapes, uh, uh, have, have been withheld, we haven't
seen them. We see snippets that are chosen by law enforcement officials. We saw
a dog and pony show looking at those snippets, which we believe was
inappropriate, but in any event, the fact of the matter is, given what they did,
and we assume what they took out of those tapes, were their best shots, nobody
did anything. And that's really the sum and substance of it. In order to violate
the law you have to do something besides talk. And that's all that we heard on
those tapes, are snippets, thousands of hours worth of tape where people talked.
But the bottom line is, nobody did anything, nobody took any money, nobody asked
for any money, nobody got any advantage.

HALL: So you're saying the case against him, is weak.

GENSON: I'm saying that the case that has been set out against him so far is
weak. I don't know what they're doing, I don't know what else is out there, I
don't think anything else is, but I'm not going to comment on what I don't know.
What I do know is, this is much to do about nothing.

HALL: Well you know, it's interesting how Chicago works, you have a lot of
people who are connected. You yourself represented R & B star R. Kelly at a time
when people thought, he was certainly going to jail, they had people who said
this was him on this tape, and you, certainly went in and convinced the jury
otherwise. There are people who say you've been brought in because you're the
guy who can win when all of the odds are against you. With your client, the
pressure is on, the hammer is above his head, you've got other Democrats calling
for him to step down, what is he telling you, behind the scenes here, because
he's certainly not talking to the media, and I know he's a guy who likes to

GENSON: He's telling me that he's not guilty, he's telling me that he wants to
fight. And that's what I'm here doing.

HALL: How do you fight?

GENSON: You fight by, by answering questions, you fight by telling the truth,
you fight by, uh, taking on and combating the predijuces that are out there, you
fight by telling the truth.

HALL: Let me ask you Ed, I know again, you have a, you're an attorney
representing a client and there's so far that you can go here. But, you say that
nothing happened, there may be talk, uh, on a phone conversation but nothing
happened, can you tell us if the governor has said that he asked for anything,
in exchange for, the vacated seat of Barack Obama. Did he ask for money, did he
ask for a job for him or his wife?

GENSON: He asked for nothing. He talked to people, he talked to people on his
inner circle, he didn't ask anyone for anything. And I think the tapes are
clearest to that point.

HALL: And let me ask you also about the uh, ongoing investigation that was
already in place. He's been under investigation even before this most recent
term, uh, he's been under investigation. And a lot of people are wondering here,
again, if he's delusional, knowing that's it's possible that his phones, could
have been tapped, why even, if these tapes are real and what they're saying in
the prosecution is true, why even leave the door open for there to be, a
misunderstanding if that's what it is, if you're on the phone talking, no acting
but talking, why even open the door for something like that, and you know you're
under investigation?

GENSON: I'm not a psychologist, I don't know why people do things, I know,
again, my job is to determine, whether in fact that what he did, what he did was
a violation of the law. It wasn't. And that's basically our position, that's
what I'm telling this panel, that's what I'm gonna tell people in the courtroom.

HALL: So in this hearing today you have at least what some people would consider
one, uh, notch in your favor in that the state supreme court, has denied the
request by the, uh, the attorney general Lisa Madigan to pull Rod Blagojevich
out of office. What is the challenge here at this hearing, because again, this
is a process that's unprecedented for the state of Illinois. You really handled
it almost like a court hearing yesterday, uh, the representatives there saying
this is not a hearing this is a procedure, how do you fight this, again,

GENSON: Well, I did what I do. I mean, I'm a lawyer, I work in courtrooms, I did
the best that I could, the fact of the matter is, they have absolutely no
concept what they're doing. Again, this is a procedure that no one's ever seen
before, so everybody's sort of taking it on the fly. And sometimes I act like
it's a courtroom, and a good deal of the time they act like it's, that, that,
they act like it's a speech machine, so I, I don't know, I think that we're both

HALL: Well let me ask you also, uh, Tony Rezko, another big player in Chicago,
uh, right now his sentencing has been postponed. There are those who say Rezko's
sentencing is postponed so that the prosecution can get him to tell what if
anything he knows about Blagojevich. There's another state employee who has pled
guilty, again the perception is that he, will soon be working with the
prosecution as well.

GENSON: I don't worry about things like that, I take those things as they come.
I don't have any comment or feeling about whether Mr. Rezco was cooperating or
not, I have no comment or feeling as to whether this employee is cooperating or
not. I take it one minute at a time, one day at a time, one month at a time,
I'll confront these things if and when they come.

HALL: And what about the first lady of Illinois, Patty Blagojecivh, you're
representing Governor Blagojevich, um so far she's not been charged...

GENSON: I don't represent Patty Blagojevich, I don't represent her.

HALL: I know you don't, but is there anything you could tell us about her role
in this. You don't represent her but you represent Rod Blagojevich her husband.
And there are some implications that she might be...

GENSON: I'd rather not talk about...


HALL: Let me then go to...

GENSON: Let her lawyer deal with it.

HALL: Ok, and let me then ask you about the governor, uh, the possibility that
he could go ahead and try to name someone to the senate seat. You're his
criminal attorney, again not his psychiatrist, but what has he told you about
continuing to move forward with business as usual, and that would be, appointing
somebody, that's the business as usual for his position.

GENSON: My understanding is he's not going to appoint anyone, to the seat.



She held her own, Phil?
Don't liberals CARE about due process anymore?
Maybe he did it.
Maybe he didn't (althought that looks unlikely).
Hall's questions were rude.
The Society of Professional Journalists' own code of ethics discuss the sort of reporting about trials which is allowed---the charges and the trial.
All this speculation about guilt (and certainly about whether the guy needs a psychiatrist) are beyond the pale.
This story reminds me that maybe the Democratic Party primary as merely a giant fight among Ivy League frats and sororities.

The repugs are using this as if it's a white water situation.
They're trying to hamstring Obama even before he gets going.
Obama supporters like Phil would be wise to back off the demonization of Blago over this.
I like what Don Fitz wrote on the Swamp about all this, posted here:

The real story is that these Banks that have been given taxpayer's money, refuse to inform an oversight committee, where and how, the money is being spent. if it is being spent, at all !! These are supposed to be America's " best and brightest " !!? That is a joke !! Their incompetence, motivated by their greed, has torpedoed the economy and all we get, is the steady drumbeat of a media lynching of a confused and bragadocious Governor. Let's get on the story, media, because you didn't, is why we are suffering economically, right now !! Let's go after those Bankers and CEOs and their management crews as fervently, as you are going after Governor Blagojevich !! The nation will be served a great deal more, Illinois' business hasn't been considered since Mike Madigan decided not to work with Governor Blagojevich, but there was no headline grabbers there. Now, Impeachment, that's a best seller and it doesn't involve Corporate America !!

Posted by: Don Fitzgerald, Chicago

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 18, 2008 12:43 PM.

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