Charles Rangel made a scene at his ethics trial today, storming out less than an hour into the proceedings, which he deemed unfair because he can no longer afford a lawyer. Rangel said his lawyer had withdrawn because the congressman couldn’t pay the $2 million bill he’d already racked up, or afford to pay him another $1 million for the ethics hearing. Rangel asked the committee for more time to find counsel, but it refused.
“My reputation of 50 years of public service has to suffer because this committee has concluded that it has to conclude this matter before the session ends,” Rangel said in his opening statement. “I truly believe that I’m not being treated fairly.” With that, he shook hands with the committee lawyers prosecuting him and walked out. After a hurried closed-door discussion, the committee resumed the hearing without him, the New York Times reports.