The release of the transcript of Roland W. Burris's typically weaselly recorded-by-the-FBI conversation with indicted Blagojevich brother Rob-- the "W" in Burris's name should stand for "weasel"-- does not prove what Burris' lawyer, Timothy Wright, says it proves.
In logic worthy of the spookiest pages of George Orwell, Wright argues that the transcript actually clears his client, now, to our state's colossal embarrassment, the junior senator from Illinois. Burris never sent the check, Wright tells reporters:
"He never did it, and that's what counts."
It shows nothing of the sort. Burris promised in the seven-minute wiretapped call on November 13, 2008, to send a check by December 15, 2008. Blagojevich was arrested at his home on December 9, 2008.
Does anyone believe that Burris, who was panting after the appointment as the capstone to his headstone, would not have delivered the check had Blago not been arrested in his PJs early that December 9 morning (before Burris could drop in the mailbox the check he had promised by the 15th)? Burris' self-imposed deadline was still six days away.
As New York Times reporters sum up the conversation:
"In the call, [Burris] seemed almost in a crass negotiation with Mr. Blagojevich's brother -- also his chief fund-raiser -- over how he could help the governor, win the appointment and not run into trouble over negative connotations that he might be trying to buy an appointment by fund-raising for him."
One thing is certain: the 10-page transcript shows Burris' description last February of his chat with the governor's brother was a lie.
"I made it very clear to him that I would not contribute, that it would be inappropriate and a major conflict, because I had expressed an interest in the Senate seat," Burris said then.
And so, by the way, was his sworn testimony last January before the House Committee considering Rod Blagojevich's impeachment. Burris swore that he did not promise then Gov. Blagojevich contributions in exchange for Barack Obama's vacated senate seat. Burris' own voice on an audio tape soon to be broadcast to the world will give the lie to that assertion.