Blagojevich weighs his legal options

Associated Press

Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich met with a renowned Chicago criminal lawyer Saturday as he weighed his legal options on how to fight a scandal that has left his career in tatters and disrupted President-elect Barack Obama’s White House transition.

The Democratic governor had a four-hour meeting with Ed Genson in the lawyer’s downtown office Saturday. Genson has defended newspaper baron Conrad Black, R&B; singer R. Kelly and numerous public figures on corruption charges, earning a reputation as the lawyer big shots call when they get in a bind in Chicago.

Genson confirmed the two met but wouldn’t discuss details of their conversation. When asked whether he would take the case, Genson said: “We’ll make our mutual decision on Monday.”


Blagojevich has ignored calls for his resignation after he was charged with trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat. He has sought to project a business-as-usual image amid the turmoil, going to work every day and handling state business.

As the legal maneuvering intensified, some observers speculated that he might be trying to leverage the governorship to his advantage.

“I would be saying, ‘Let me see what I can get in exchange for you resigning. Don’t just give it up for nothing. Let me see if I can get you a better deal,’ ” said Steve Cron, a Santa Monica defense lawyer.

Others suggested his refusal to resign is more rooted in his ego. He has been known to love the spotlight, whether the attention is good or bad.

“You would think he would see his life collapsing around him,” said Chicago defense lawyer John Beal, who was in the courtroom with Blagojevich last week. “But he was the center of attention and seemed to love it.”

Blagojevich’s political future remains in limbo. The Legislature could start impeachment proceedings as soon as Monday, and the Illinois Supreme Court could act on a request by state Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan to strip him of his powers.