SPRINGFIELD, IL—As his impeachment trial began Monday, Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich kicked off a national media tour to explain that his alleged senatorial pay-to-play scheme was merely an elaborate plot to surprise U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald with a Senate seat on his birthday. "You try to do something nice for someone, and look what happens," the embattled governor told reporters at a press conference during which he unveiled a birthday cake for Fitzgerald. "People get wind of it, so you try to cover up the big party you planned, then things get out of hand and the story ends up involving a children's hospital, threats to the Tribune, and a half-million-dollar bribe. Next thing you know, you're getting investigated by the very person you wanted to do something nice for! Pat, I'm sorry your birthday surprise was spoiled." Before taking questions, Blagojevich changed into a plumber's outfit and attempted to sneak out of the room, saying in a thick Italian accent that the toilet was backed up and he had to fix it right away.