Representative Dan Rostenkowski's lawyers told a federal judge in Washington that corruption charges against the Chicago pol should be tossed out as an unprecedented intrusion on Congress's authority to police itself. Prosecutors said his 17 felony counts of converting more than $600,000 in federal funds to personal use were a "plain vanilla fraud case." U.S. District Court Judge Norma Johnson, who could rule this week, hinted Rosty's legal ploy struck her as thin: "I certainly get a sense that the [U.S. House] rules will not be an element in any of the crimes charged." But TIME Washington correspondent Julie Johnson says Rostenkowski's "House rules" strategy isn't as futile as it seems: "The defense must make these arguments, or else you lose the right to appeal them. There is no minor thing when you're facing jail. And hey, why not? You might win. It's like the lottery."