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A Look At Blago's Lawyer, Ed Genson

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Dec 17, 2008 9:25PM

2008_12_edgenson.jpgOur embattled governor wasted no time in hiring an attorney with the necessary experience of defending a client in court who has already been tried and convicted by public opinion. A graduate of Northwestern Law, Ed Genson is a Chicago native. He uses a motorized scooter or a cane due to a neurological disorder that affects how he walks. Genson has built a quite a reputation around himself over the years. Notably, he has defended the following high profile clients:

  • R. Kelly, found not guilty of 14 child pornography-related counts
  • Conrad Black, former Sun-Times publisher, found guilty of three counts of mail and wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice.
  • Mel Reynolds, ex-congressman, had sex with an underage campaign volunteer, found guilty of 12 counts including sexual assault, obstruction of justice and solicitation of child pornography.
  • Larry Warner, George Ryan’s co-defendant, and Scott Fawell, Ryan’s top aide. Both are in prison for their involvement with Ryan.

Genson has also defended a number of suspects with connections to the mob, and he said in 2003, “"I have no aversion to organized crime." His first mob client was Jimmy "the Bomber" Catuara in 1970. Of the Blagojevich case, at a press conference Monday, Genson said, "He's not stepping aside. He hasn’t done anything wrong."

"I think this is another one of those cases where the press has taken control," Genson said, "The case is not what it seems. And when it comes to pass you'll see that it's not what it seems and you'll find that he's not guilty."

Genson has been depicted as a formidable opponent for any prosecutor to face. He has been called a barracuda by the NWI Times, wily and pugnacious by ABC, and the Devils’ advocate in a profile in Chicago Magazine from March 2005.

ABC7 speculates that the defense would involve arguing the difference between what he said and what he did. The prosecution would have to come up with proof that he followed through on the things he threatened. With a resume like that, Blagojevich will definitely have someone on his side to put up a good fight. Although, even if he somehow gets himself out of this mess, when it's all said and done Blago will certainly have more troubles. Surely, he won't be elected by anyone ever again.

And remember how he needed all that money for $500,000 worth of legal fees? Well, Genson charges about $700 per hour. Blagojevich plans to pay for legal services with his campaign money, which apparently is legal, according to ProPublica:

State law does not prevent the Democratic governor from tapping his campaign committee's funds to pay legal bills, even though he stands accused of illegally soliciting and obtaining some of the funds in exchange for official actions.

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green