Amid Impeachment Discussion, Blago Hires Attorney

By Lindsey Ellerson

Dec 15, 2008 5:24pm

ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe Reports: As the talk of impeachment grows louder, ABC News has learned that Chicago defense attorney Ed Genson has been hired to represent Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Genson, a high-profile Chicago lawyer, met with the governor twice this weekend and said earlier today that he will fight charges if he is retained.

For the last several days, Blagojevich has been seen entering the downtown Chicago building where the law offices of attorney Genson are based, just a stone’s throw from Obama’s transition headquarters.  At this time, Genson had no further comment about accepting the job.

The threat of impeachment is "nothing new" for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, his spokesman said Monday afternoon, just hours after Speaker of the House Michael Madigan formed a special committee to investigate whether or not the governor should be ousted from office.

Calling the House’s action "a very significant government action" and one "of the gravest consideration," Madigan said that Blagojevich had six days to take himself out of his job since the accusations were leveled, but did not.

"I think it’s time that we move forward with the appointment of the committee of inquiry that could lead to impeachment,” Madigan said during the Springfield, Illinois press conference.

"Impeachment talk in Springfield is nothing new," Blagojevich’s spokesman Lucio Guerrero insisted to reporters outside the governor’s offices in Chicago. "I mean, he’s been dealing with this for over a year now. And it’s something that he’ll have to see what the recommendations are. I mean, it’s not – just because Michael Madigan puts it out doesn’t mean that’s what they’re going to recommend, so we’ll see what happens once the recommendations come through and then he’ll make a decision."

Later Monday the state legislature in Springfield will meet to discuss calling a special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama that Blagojevich allegedly tried to sell; Guerrero said the governor has not ruled out signing such a bill.

"The governor has very much been a proponent of letting the people elect or select who their elected leaders are," Guerrero said. "We’re still waiting to get the exact details of this bill and the language in it before he makes a decision on whether to sign it."

Guerrero said Blagojevich was aware of all the calls for him to step down, but there are no plans for him to speak in public at the present time.

"The governor has indicated that he wants to speak and when the proper time is to say something, he’ll say something," stated Guerrero. "I’m just not so sure now is the time to say it."

Blagojevich was spotted Monday morning with suitcases outside his house, but Guerrero said his embattled boss wasn’t going anywhere this week.

"The governor hasn’t made any indication to me that he’s going on a trip or anything," he said. "Not that I wouldn’t recommend it for him…"

Guerrero did note that there is a great deal of stress within the governor’s office at the moment, although he added that the staff is not jumping ship just yet.

"You gotta imagine that it’s a trying time for the staff," he said. "I mean, no one’s dealt with anything like this before, so there’s a lot of stress, a lot of people are concerned about their personal futures. But you know, everybody remembers and realizes that we have 12 million people that we work for, not just one, so everybody’s trying to stay professional, trying to stay focused on the day-to-day operation."

"There’s 54,000 employees under the governor’s agencies, so there may be resignations, but there’s no high-level or en-masse resignations that I know of."

ABC News’ Bret Hovell contributed to this report.

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