Legal experts say Illinois Governor Blagojevich being judged prematurely

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Chicago, Jan.1 (ANI): Legal experts have said that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is being judged prematurely in connection with trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat.

Legal experts have said that that the governor has not been convicted or indicted, and his public treatment -- even at the hands of his fellow Democrats -- raises questions about whether Blagojevich is unfairly being viewed as guilty out of the gate.

"It's really disheartening. ... Nobody is willing to give him the presumption of innocence," Fox News quoted defense attorney Gerald Lefcourt, as saying.

"Particularly disappointing is my fellow Democrats who are acting as if the guy has been convicted and serving time," he added.

Efforts to strip the governor of his power started quickly after federal prosecutors unveiled the criminal complaint against him on December 9.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan tried, unsuccessfully, to get the state Supreme Court to remove him from office.

Then impeachment proceedings got under way in the Illinois House. Illinois legislators shelved an effort to hold a special election as a way to fill Obama's seat -- but after Blagojevich appointed former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris on Tuesday, U.S. Senate Democrats said they would hold up the appointment anyway.

Lefcourt said the senators, while within their right to criticize Blagojevich, should "butt out" when it comes to taking action against Burris.

"I don't think they're serving our Constitution and our system well," he said.

Jonathan Turley, law professor at George Washington University, said the Senate was jumping the gun by threatening to block an otherwise legal appointment.

"He has been neither convicted nor impeached," he said.

Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill said Blagojevich's fellow Democrats are right to question the actions of the governor, since the action they are questioning is the subject of the complaint against him.

"I'm not sure that he should (have a presumption of innocence) when it comes to appointments and other legislation," Hill said. "He's trying to make an appointment to the seat he was accused of selling. ... It would be foolish of any party to allow him to operate under those circumstances." (ANI)

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