Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The obligatory Blagojevich post

Seems that everyone has a stone-cold opinion about the corruption case against Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Well, count me out of this one.

You'll find that I'm pretty consistent in this regard, whether it's O.J. or Plaxico Burress or Sarah Palin in "Troopergate": let's allow the case to run its course before reaching a judgment. Someone smarter than me in these matters agrees, sort of:

Despite the sensational treatment given the arrest of Blagojevich and aide John Harris in today's New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune, the governor has yet to be charged with attempting to sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat. All those juicy details about Blagojevich making plans to trade the Senate seat for a position in the Obama Cabinet, another job, financial support, or jobs for his wife appear in the complaint brought yesterday.* But U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald has yet to file charges over the alleged attempt to sell the seat.

... Before we turn down the sheets on Blagojevich's prison cot, let's see transcripts of him actually making a money deal or power deal with somebody for the Senate seat. Even U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald says his office isn't "trying to criminalize people making political horse trades on policies or that sort of thing."

True, true, three times true. The presumption of innocence is one of the bedrock principles of our courts. I realize the scope of the case seems damning at first glance and that, at a minimum, Blagojevich seems absolutely insane. But that's different from being guilty of criminal behavior.

The burden of proof is on Fitzgerald. Let him lay out a case, hear some rebuttal and then allow a verdict to be rendered. Until then, please spare me the obnoxious outrage. I've grown especially tired of our lynch mob mentality.

UPDATE: I should clarify, though - I do think it would be wise if Blagojevich would resign. If only so he doesn't hold up the process of naming a replacement for Obama's seat in the Senate.

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