Chicago Sun-Times
Inside the Rod Blagojevich investigation and related cases

Blagojevich and Stuart Levine: Associates or not?

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Niewoehner is now asking Monk about Blagojevich's ties to Stuart Levine.

Levine has to be somebody who's confused jurors to date.

The prosecution keeps talking about how Blagojevich, a Democrat, reappointed Levine to two state boards.

The defense keeps saying Levine was a close associate and fund-raiser for Jim Ryan, Blagojevich's Republican opponent in the 2002 governor's race.

Niewoehner is finally trying to straighten all this out, having Monk respond to questions about why Blagojevich would reappoint Levine, a Republican, to government posts in his Democratic administration.

Blagojevich, according to Monk was "above playing politics," and told Monk he wanted to tap into Levine's expertise as a member of the state's teacher-pension and Health Facilities Planning boards. Levine also was being recommended for reappointment by close Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko.

Levine "was very reputable, smart and qualified to do this, and he was being recommended by Tony," Monk explained.

Levine, of course, ended up being the star prosecution witness in Rezko's trial. He's pleaded guilty to rigging or trying to rig countless state deals along with Rezko, who ended up being found guilty of conspiring with Levine in 2008.

Blagojevich's lawyers are expected to try to continue to distance Blagojevich from Levine. Keeping Blagojevich's ties to Levine clear for jurors is expected to be key to the prosecution's case.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris Fusco published on June 10, 2010 10:54 AM.

Blagojevich trial: Monk questioned on pension board proposal was the previous entry in this blog.

Blagojevich and Mel Weiss is the next entry in this blog.

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