Gov. can bench attorney general in fight to release fed. subpoenas

Legal News Line Apr. 18, 2007, 7:00am

Lisa Madigan

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has won a battle to boot Attorney General Lisa Madigan from his legal team in a controversial public-access lawsuit. Circuit Court Judge Patrick Kelley last week granted a motion filed by Blagojevich's team last month to have fellow-Democrat Madigan replaced in a suit filed against him by the Better Government Association (BGA). The BGA has sued to force Blagojevich to make public federal subpoenas his office received two years ago, LegalNewsLine reported. The FBI was investigating reports that the governor's office was involved in corrupt hiring practices. Judge Kelley agreed that Madigan had a conflict in defending Blagojevich in the suit because her office had already issued a ruling favoring the BGA. Kelley appointed former Blagojevich attorney Thomas Londrigan of Springfield to replace her. Central to the conflict was a letter written by Madigan's public-records attorney to Blagojevich's office following an opinion request by the BGA. The letter told the governor the subpoenas were public documents and should be released. Instead, the letter was leaked to the media and seized on by Blagojevich's team as evidence that Madigan, with whom the governor has long feuded, had a stake in the case. "The release of this letter created an irreconcilable conflict," Londrigan told the AP. Madigan staffers countered that the attorney general's public-records division and public litigation division are separate entities within the office. But Kelley ruled that Madigan could have a "personal interest" in seeing the original opinion upheld. The attorney general's office is currently considering whether to appeal.

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