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State panel may get Blago tapes

From NBC's Pete Williams
The Justice Department is asking for permission to give the Illinois Legislature some edited versions of conversations recorded by the FBI between Gov. Rod Blagojevich and a lobbyist.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, responding to a request from the Illinois legislative committee considering impeachment, wants a judge to rule on whether handing over redacted tapes would be proper. 

Fitzgerald says the Justice Department takes no position on whether Blagojevich should be impeached. But, he says, the request from the legislature requires a court to rule on whether the committee is qualified under federal court rules to receive redacted versions of the tapes.

Fitzgerald says he proposes to release four recordings that involve what the government claims are attempts by the governor to get money for his re-election in return for signing a gambling proceeds bill and approving state spending on a highway project. The tapes do not involve any discussions of President-elect Obama's Senate seat.

Fitzgerald proposes that before the tapes are turned over to the legislature, they first be given to the people who were recorded on the wiretaps, to give them a chance to object.

Fitzgerald seeks a hearing before the judge on the wiretaps for next Monday, Jan. 5th.