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Monday, February 16, 2009

Bungling Burris? [Part 3]

Wrangling with the question, Did Roland Burris commit perjury before the Special Investigative Committee? Consider:

There's another aspect of Roland Burris's testimony before the Committee I haven't mentioned. That is his Affidavit given to the committee in the days before his testimony (Committee Exhibit 40 - PDF) submitted on January 5, 2009:

11. Prior to the December 26, 2008 telephone call from Mr. Adams, Jr., there was not any contact between myself or any of my representatives with Governor Blagojevich or any of his representatives regarding my appointment to the Senate.

While not testimony, his attorney stated in the affidavit's cover letter:

The Affidavit is not intended to be a substitute for testimony before your Committee, but may be useful to you pending the Senator's actual appearance.

Then there's the transcript of Roland Burris's testimony on January 8, 2009.

And finally we have the supplemental affidavit of Roland Burris dated February 4, 2009, which hopefully is the last word on who Roland Burris talked to about this.

Remember, the Committee was convened for the purpose of determining if there was evidence against Rod Blagojevich for an impeachment. The Committee was not there to determine whether Roland Burris is fit to be a United States Senator. Although it appears some people are taking that as a byproduct of the Committee.

Mr. Burris was not there to make himself look good. And Representative Durkin was not there to make Mr. Burris look bad. If Mr. Burris had evidence against himself, he could have asserted his Fifth Amendment rights. He did not. He had nothing to hide.

Mr. Burris and his attorney should brush up their affidavit preparation skills (in reference to the pre-testimony affidavit). Mr. Burris should learn to finish what he's saying when speaking before a tribunal and not let himself get edged off track.

As for Representative Durkin, did he drop the ball in not pursuing the rest of the names after Mr. Burris discussed his meeting with Lon Monk? It looks like it. I bet he's kicking himself right about now. If he didn't, maybe he should have had an experienced trial attorney advising him.

Mr. Burris's testimony before the Committee was, at worst, incomplete. If his testimony on January 8th had been complete, would it have changed the outcome of the impeachment Committee's decision? Not even.

Does incomplete testimony, which was later completed after the fact, equate to perjury? I don't think so.

Part 1 and Part 2 of this mess.

Posted by Marie at February 16, 2009 12:47 PM

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