Rep. Charlie Rangel tried to get a delay in his ethics trial. Something about being denied a lawyer. Didn't work. The House panel said tough luck -- the trial proceeds.
Complaining bitterly that he was denied the right to have an attorney present for his ethics trial, an emotional Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) threatened to walk out of the proceedings unless he was given more time to hire counsel.
Rangel began today's hearing without an attorney present, and he quickly asked for a continuation of his trial. The venerable New York Democrat said the ethics committee had denied his request in a recent letter, but the panel went into private session after two separate appeals by Rangel.Rangel was visibly emotional in his opening speech, and his threat to walk out offered a jarring moment to a trial that is expected to last all week.
Update: The threatened walk out became an actual walk out when the hearing resumed without Rangel:
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.
With Rangel gone – foregoing the 10 hours he was granted to defend himself - the committee moved very quickly through the case and spent just 80 minutes reviewing the allegations before retiring to decide whether it would approve a "motion for summary judgment."
If that motion is approved the Rangel trial is esentially over, just several hours after beginning.