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Update 3:30 P.M:

Washington (NYTimes)– Members of the House ethics committee began deliberating charges Monday that Representative Charles B. Rangel violated Congressional rules, after an unusual public hearing that was abbreviated by the longtime congressman’s dramatic exit from the proceedings.

Mr. Rangel, who appeared at the inquiry alone, stunned the packed hearing room by walking out after complaining that he had no lawyer because he could not afford the millions of dollars in legal fees he had racked up during the two-year investigation.

After declaring that “I respectfully withdraw from these proceedings,” Mr. Rangel shook hands with the lawyers for the ethics committee who were preparing to lay out the case against him and strode steadily out of the room. But after meeting privately, committee members resumed the proceedings without Mr. Rangel, a Democrat who has represented Harlem for four decades.

Read more at NYT


Update 11:20A.M:

Washington (NYTimes)– The public ethics trial of Representative Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, on 13 charges of unethical behavior took a stunning turn Monday morning when Mr. Rangel walked out of the hearing 40 minutes after it began, complaining that it would be unfair to continue the process because he could no longer afford a lawyer.

And so, the hearing began without him.

The hearing, which comes after a two-year investigation of Mr. Rangel’s personal finances and fund-raising, began with the committee chairwoman and ranking Republican making somber opening statements.

But when Mr. Rangel was given the opportunity to make opening remarks, he complained that his lawyers withdrew from the case when he was unable to pay the $2 million bill he had run up or assure them that he could cover the additional $1 million it would cost to represent him at a hearing.


Rep. Charles Rangel faces 13 ethics charges as trial begins

Washington (USATODAY)–Rep. Charles Rangel faces his accusers today when the House ethics committee holds a trial to determine if the New York Democrat violated 13 ethics charges.

The trial is set to begin at 9 a.m. ET. USA TODAY’s Fredreka Schouten will be there.

Rangel, 80, stepped down in March as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee as he was being investigated.

He easily won re-election on Nov. 2 to a Harlem-based district that he has represented since 1970. His trial overshadows the start of a lame-duck session, in which lawmakers will tackle a host of spending issues and hold orientation sessions for newly elected members of Congress.

“All I can do is just ask for time to be heard,” Rangel said Sunday at a memorial service in Harlem for civil rights leader Dorothy Height.

“I’m confident that at the end of the day, my constituents’ faith in me, as demonstrated by their overwhelming vote, will be well-founded.”

Read more at USAToday


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