- The Washington Times - Friday, January 23, 2009

CHICAGO (AP) — Impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (bluh-GOY’-uh-vich) says he’s boycotting his impeachment trial next week because the process is unfair, not because he’s being defiant.

At a news conference Friday, Blagojevich says his constitutional rights are being trampled under the Senate rules because he cannot call the witnesses that he wants.

He contends he cannot call all of the witnesses that he wants and cannot challenge the evidence that prosecutors present.

The Senate rules bar testimony from anyone federal prosecutors say would jeopardize the criminal corruption trial against Blagojevich.

The governor also said he wanted to attend the trial that starts Monday, but couldn’t because the process was not fair.

He asked the state’s newspaper editorial boards, specifically the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, to push lawmakers to change the Senate rules.

He also says fellow Democrats want him out of office so they can move forward with plans to raise income taxes.

He claimed Republicans want him out so that when taxes go up, they have an issue to campaign on.

The two-term governor faces a Senate impeachment trial starting Monday that will determine if he will keep his job. The Senate rules bar testimony from anyone federal prosecutors say would jeopardize the criminal corruption trial against him.

Blagojevich is accused of, among other things, scheming to benefit from his power to name President Barack Obama’s replacement in the U.S. Senate.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

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