He’s only had 2 years to prepare for his ethics trial but he couldn’t figure out how to have an attorney present with him this morning as the trial began. He argued with the ethics committee chairwoman, Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California as the hearing opened. He asserted he was “entitled to a lawyer” while Lofgren responded that he had had ample opportunity to prepare for his legal defense and had not been prevented from acquiring legal counsel. Rangel “parted ways” with his previous attorneys in October.
Before he stomped out of the proceedings, he did admit it would be “very, very unwise” to represent himself.
He then released a statement complaining about his “unfair” treatment:
“I hope that my colleagues in Congress, friends, constituents and anyone paying attention will consider my statement and how the committee has been unfair to me. They can do what they will with me because they have the power and I have no real chance of fighting back.”
Rep Lofgren announced this afternoon that “there is no genuine issue” or dispute over the facts in the case. She also closed the committee – composed of 4 Republicans and 4 Democrats – to discuss each of the 13 counts against Rangel. Those deliberations could take hours to days.