Blagojevich’s “vigorous debate” defense

Doesn’t really impress Kevin Underhill at Lowering the Bar:

His lawyers filed a motion prior to opening statements arguing that [former Gov. Rod] Blagojevich had the right to say the things that he was recorded saying because, far from misusing his office for personal gain, he was just talking politics. Blagojevich had “the right,” the motion argues, “to vigorously debate about different options for appointments and different fundraising strategies.” And because “[t]he marketplace of ideas is critical to Democracy [sic],” the prosecution “violates fundamental free speech.”

I just wonder if “marketplace” was the best metaphor to use in association with Rod Blagojevich.

Let’s see — so, when Blagojevich met with a lobbyist in 2008, mentioned that he was about to announce a $1.8 billion construction project and said “I’ve got Lon going to Construction Executive and asking for $500,000 . . . . I could have made a larger announcement but wanted to see how they perform by the end of the year. If they don’t perform, f— ’em,” he was simply engaging in vigorous debate about a fundraising strategy. See United States v. Blagojevich, No. 08 CR 888, Government’s Evidentiary Proffer, p. 55 (filed Apr. 14, 2010).

Or, when told that Children’s Memorial Hospital (which was hoping for a rate increase) was not returning calls about political contributions, Blagojevich said “Screw them,” then called the deputy governor, asked “Where are we on the money to Children’s Memorial Hospital? . . . . Hold it up,” that was an even more vigorous debate about fundraising. See id. at p. 62.


  • Turns out he’s right by Chicago standards.

  • “You gotta pay the vig, man.”

  • You know what is the worst thing about this whole trial? Those damn reporters. One cut me in line to get through security this morning. I eventually let her in, but not before I made her ask permission from me and the people behind me. Normally I’m not a jerk, but it just irked me that she thought she was too good to wait with the rest of us.

  • I see no reason for the uproar over Rod Blagojevich. The appointed Senator, Roland Burris, seems like a great guy to me, but he can’t run because of the emotional commotion. The Senior Senator Dick Durban is a dolt!

  • Blago’s lawyer says his client is ‘as honest as the day is long’. They should depose him on the summer solstice.

  • […] Overlawyered, a critique by Kevin Underhill at Lowering the […]