Pinning Burris for Perjury Difficult: Experts

Senator says he was just placating Blago brother in taped calls
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2009 9:11 AM CDT
Pinning Burris for Perjury Difficult: Experts
US Sen. Roland Burris tours the University of Illinois in Urbana yesterday.    (AP Photo)

Controversy surrounding Roland Burris' appointment to the Senate has heated up after the release of his conversations with Rod Blagojevich’s brother, taped by the FBI, but a criminal case against him is still iffy, Politico reports. The possibility of perjury charges over inconsistencies in Burris’ statements is slim, experts say, because they leave room for debate. Indeed, Burris told reporters yesterday he was only trying to "placate" Blago's brother by discussing, but not committing to, a fundraiser for the cash-strapped governor.

In the taped conversations, Burris suggests he’s open to helping Blagojevich raise funds, but  a direct contribution would risk appearing to have bought his seat. He didn’t mention the talks in one affidavit; in a second, he says he told the then-Illinois governor’s brother “I could not contribute to Gov. Blagojevich.” Burris remains under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee, which, a former official notes, isn’t “bound by the limits of strict perjury.” (More Congress stories.)

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