Charlie Rangel’s ethics trial started today (nice way to begin the lame duck session), but good ol Charlie ain’t gonna play. After playing the victim card, Rangel walks out.
Politico: Complaining bitterly that he was denied the right to have an attorney present, an emotional Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) walked out of his highly publicized public ethics trial Monday morning, an unexpected twist in the ethics inquiry has tarnished Rangel’s four-decade congressional career.
The ethics panel, after an unexpected 40-minute private session, rejected Rangel’s request to delay the trial and went ahead anyway. The witness chair where Rangel was supposed to sit was empty, a dramatic sign of Rangel’s refusal to participate. [MORE]
So what brought on this hissy fit by Charlie Rangel? He doesn’t want to dip into his ill gotten gains …eh, personal fortune to pay for an attorney.
Rangel parted ways with his law firm Zuckerman Spaeder last month after paying the firm $1.6 million. The New York Democrat said the firm wanted an additional $1 million for the trial, funds that he no longer had available after running through his campaign account. Members of Congress are allowed to use campaign funds to cover legal fees incurred as part of their official duties.
"I am being denied to the right to have a lawyer right now because I don’t have the opportunity to have a legal defense fund set up," Rangel said. "And because I don’t have a million dollars to pay my counsel."