Update on that Insanity Defense Idea

Update on that Insanity Defense Idea –As said before (yesterday), this may well be just a joke or inflated rumor–but that notion of Illinois Gov. Blagojevich prepping an ‘insanity defense’ is still carrying on.

ABC News has picked up the idea, such as it is. Both Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow cited accusations, frequent apparently, of irrationality or worse against Blagojevich on their shows last night. At least one Chicago columnist, John Kass, seems to be debunking the idea or perhaps torpedoing the putative defense along these lines.

In all seriousness, the conversations revealed by the feds in that charging document–erroneously called an ‘indictment’ in both the Washington Post and MSNBC yesterday, thereby missing the real story here–seem to show that Blagojevich talked to his closest aides the way I talk to myself. And as far as I am concerned, talking to oneself–and what one says to self–is not genuine evidence of either insanity or crime.

I’m not a lawyer, of course. I have started wondering whether all this hoopla, obviously foreseen by the prosecution, inevitably taints any jury pool. Following this hypothesis to its logical conclusion, that wd mean that the feds do not necessarily believe there will ever be a trial. Something to think about.

NDIL spokesman Randy Samborn returned call for comment today, btw. Asked about possible consequences for Chicago’s newspapers from that charging document, he declined courteously to speculate on anything that may happen in the future.

More later. I am not inherently a contrarian, but somehow this arrest arouses qualms at a gut level. An attorney friend of mine pointed out a good column by Fitzgerald friend and legal author Scott Turow in yesterday’s NYTimes. Turow specifies among other things how U.S. Patrick Fitzgerald has in the past timed legal actions to avoid elections or other political consequences–for one, he went along with the Libby defense request to postpone the Libby trial until after the 2006 elections.

Turow says point-blank that Fitzgerald had to bring this case, i.e. I suppose make this arrest, before he was ready. MSNBC’s Pat Buchanan said pretty much the same thing. I, au contraire, do not see how it wd have been possible that Blago cd have appointed the replacement senator with a day or even within a few days. –After all, if you’re actually running an auction, it is self-evident that if you want bids to go up, you want the auction to run on for a while. From the tapes, Blago and his crew did not seem even to have the channels opened up and running, yet.

If, reasoning along these lines, Blago had given up the notion of selling–maybe not too speedy a decision, given his delusions–and had appointed himself to the senate, it wd have been even easier to file charges against him. There would have been more material to use, starting with the on-its-face undisputed fact that he had appointed himself, never a popular move. And prosecutors wd have had the advantage of additional material from anyone Blagojevich or his aides had been in contact with, incl from anyone who repudiated his illicit offers. Too bad in a way that the arrest forestalled that . . . no wonder the GOP is so happy. This swift arrest leaves a cloud over everyone (Dem) who cd even have been supposed to have an interest in the senate.

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