Lawyer Allan Ackerman to leave Rod Blagojevich's defense team

Chicago defense attorney Allan Ackerman filed papers in federal court asking permission to withdraw from former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s defense team on Thursday.

Ackerman said he is “No longer able to stridently participate in the defense of the accused.” In an interview with WLS-TV in Chicago Ackerman said that he had differences with others on the legal team, mainly concerning the “means and methods” of preparing for a “complex, multi-count trial”. Ackerman joined the legal team last November.

Blagojevich has pleaded not guilty to trying to sell then President Elect Barack Obama’s U.S. senate seat in late 2008 among other offenses. Blagojevich is set to go to trial on June 3, 2010.

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's legal team will be seeing another change, according to court documents filed in the case late today.

Veteran lawyer Allan Ackerman has asked to withdraw, according to a defense motion. Ackerman had joined the case in August in part to assist in reviewing discovery documents and listen to the hundreds of conversations secretly taped by the government.

No reason was given in the motion, though sources said a rift had formed between Ackerman and other members of the legal team. Ackerman may be replaced by Michael Gillespie, the son of veteran lawyer Terrence Gillespie.