In an impromptu moving news conference after he walked out of his ethics hearing on Monday, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) told reporters he didn’t think there was much he could say about the charges against him.
“I wish I could make a statement… I don’t think there’s anything that I can say,” Rangel said in front of a row of cameras set up just outside the 3rd floor hearing room in the House Longworth Building.
Then he said a lot.
Followed by a gaggle of reporters and photographers down the hall to the elevator, Rangel complained that there were plenty of lawyers who would represent him without charging a fee, if only the House Ethics Committee would allow it.
“There are people that want to, trial lawyers, that want to give me counsel without a fee,” said Rangel. “They said no, it would be considered a gift. They said that any free advice given to me by counsel would be considered a gift.” The New York congressman represented himself at the hearing.
Rangel’s hearing before the House Ethics Committee centers around 13 charges against him. He’s denied the allegations.
“Okay, thank you,” Rangel said as the elevator doors closed.