Illinois Gov. gets own lawyer after AG bails on Fed. subpoena cases

Legal News Line Jul. 30, 2007, 9:00am

Lisa Madigan

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan at last saw which way the wind was blowing in her battle with Gov. Rod Blagojevich over representing in him in two controversial disclosure cases. Madigan announced Friday she would accede to Blagojevich's wishes and quit representing him in two suits filed by public-watchdog groups Judicial Watch and the Better Government Association (BGA). The suits aim to make public federal subpoenas to the governor's office over corruption allegations. "We want the actions to be resolved expeditiously and the second issue of who's going to represent the governor, if it's set aside, the courts can decide the more important matter," Madigan's spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler told the AP Friday. Blagojevich announced early March that he wanted Madigan off his legal-defense team fighting suits against Judicial Watch and the BGA to prevent the subpoenas' release. Blagojevich claimed Madigan's earlier comments indicated she wouldn't defend him with "zeal and integrity". BGA announced Jan. 4 it had sued Blagojevich to force a turnover of U.S. Attorney subpoenas concerning allegations of political paybacks for campaign assistance in his office. The watchdog filed suit in the Sangamon County Circuit Court. Judicial Watch weighed in with a similar suit, announced two weeks later, in the Cook County Circuit Court that includes the city of Chicago. The subpoenas were issued by the Northern District of Illinois federal court by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Madigan's public access counselor last year said the subpoenas should be public, a comment Blagojevich repeated as proof that Madigan's office was biased against him on the matter. Blagojevich won a telling legal victory in April when Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Patrick Kelley granted him a motion to replace Madigan with his own lawyer, LNL reported. Madigan's subsequent appeal was not even heard, the AP reported. Madigan officially withdrew from representing Blagojevich in the BGA case Friday. She will pull out of the BGA case this week.

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