CHICAGO - Attorneys for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich filed a motion in federal court on Thursday seeking to subpoena President Barack Obama to testify for the defense in the governor's corruption trial. The former governor's trial is slated to begin on June 3.
"President Obama has direct knowledge to allegations made in the indictment," one of Blagojevich's attorneys said to U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel on Thursday.
According to the ex-governor's legal team, Obama's testimony would unravel the complex web behind allegations that Blagojevich used his office to elicit campaign contributions and sell the Senate seat vacated by Obama in 2008.
The 11-page motion cites conflicting public statements by Obama that contradict statements by other potential witnesses for the prosecution.
"There are two conflicting stories and the defense has the right to admit evidence that contradicts the government's claims," the motion stated. "[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 also claims that Obama has pertinent information about Antoin "Tony" Rezko, slated to testify on behalf of the prosecution. A friendship between Rezko, who was convicted of fraud, money laundering and bribery in 2008, and Obama dates to 1990.
Blagojevich's attorneys claim that critical information known only by the president and their client will clear up the allegations against the former governor.
The attorneys suggested that Obama's deposition could be videotaped and played in court to circumvent the security and scheduling concerns of a sitting president.