CHICAGO - In a move intended to force public testimony from President-elect Barack Obama's inner circle, a lawyer for Gov. Rod Blagojevich has asked the legislative panel considering impeachment of the governor to subpoena more than a dozen witnesses, including Obama's incoming chief of staff.

State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie told The Associated Press yesterday that the House committee had received a letter from Blagojevich attorney Ed Genson asking it to subpoena Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Valerie Jarrett and more than a dozen others, including Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Currie, the head of the committee, said that she didn't yet know what the committee's response to Genson's request would be.

However, she noted that the U.S. Attorney's office has already denied the panel's request to interview a list of people named in the criminal complaint against Blagojevich.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said earlier this week that lawmakers' interviews of current or former members of Blagojevich's staff might jeopardize his criminal investigation.

Currie said that the House panel's next meeting is set for Monday.

There was no immediate response yesterday to messages seeking comment from Genson, the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago, Jackson and attorneys for Jarrett and Emanuel.

Members of Obama's transition team declined to comment.

Blagojevich was arrested Dec. 9 on charges alleging that he tried to sell Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder. He has denied any wrongdoing and is ignoring scores of calls to step down, including one from Obama. *