Burris won’t face perjury charge

Roland Burris still faces an inquiry by the Senate. Roland Burris still faces an inquiry by the Senate.
Associated Press / June 20, 2009
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Senator Roland Burris will not be charged with perjury for statements he made before an Illinois House impeachment committee because there isn’t enough evidence to support the charge, the state prosecutor investigating the case said yesterday.

Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Schmidt said that while some of Burris’s statements about the circumstances surrounding his controversial appointment to the Senate by then-Governor Rod Blagojevich were vague, they would not support a perjury charge.

“This matter has now been fully investigated; I cooperated at every phase of the process, and as I have said from the beginning, I have never engaged in any pay-to-play, never perjured myself, and came to this seat in an honest and legal way,’’ Burris said.

The Illinois Democrat still faces in investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee, which is looking into the circumstances of his appointment.

The Ethics Committee can recommend punishment for wrongdoing among Senate members by censuring them - a formal reprimand - or ousting them.

Burris, 71, was appointed to President Obama’s vacant Senate seat by Blagojevich after the FBI arrested Blagojevich on corruption charges. Those charges include allegations that the former governor tried to sell the seat for political donations. Blagojevich, who was impeached and removed from office, has denied any wrongdoing.