Lawyers for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich today asked a federal judge for permission to subpoena President Barack Obama to testify at Blagojevich's upcoming trial.
Blagojevich is charged with using his office to enrich himself and close associates, including allegations he tried to sell the U.S. Senate seat that Obama vacated in 2008 with his election to the White House.
Blagojevich's lawyers have previously suggested they might try to question the president.
"President Obama has direct knowledge to allegations made in the indictment," the defense said in its filing. "In addition, President Obama's public statements contradict other witness statements."
The defense said it still has not received notes from FBI interviews of Obama even though it first sought that material in December.
Blagojevich's lawyers contend that some of Obama's public remarks that no representatives of his had any stake in any alleged deals Blagojevich had over the senate seat has been contradicted by some witnesses in interviews with the FBI and federal prosecutors. That allegedly contradictory information has been blacked out of the new filing, though the defense asked in a footnote that the entire filing be unsealed.
The filing said that only Blagojevich - who is expected to testify in his own defense - and the president can corroborate some of Blagojevich's claims that there was no conspiracy to sell the seat.
"President Obama is the only one who can say if emissaries were sent on his behalf, who those emissaries were, and what, if anything, those emissaries were instructed to do on his behalf," the motion states.
Obama also may have pertinent information about Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a top fundraiser for the former governor and an alleged co-schemer, the defense said. The president can testify about "Mr. Rezko's reputation for truthfulness as well as his own opinion of Mr. Rezko's character," the filing said.
He can also give information on Rezko's methods, the defense contended, citing an infamous real-estate deal between the Rezkos and Obamas in which Rezko paid for a strip of property next to the Obamas' South Side residence.
The defense said it understands the security concerns raised by its request to question the president and then proposed conducting a videotaped deposition of him. (Source)