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

Judge Zagel on Patti's real estate fees: Bribes reminiscent of turn-of-the-century brothel

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Reporting with Natasha Korecki and Dave McKinney

Attorneys for Rod Blagojevich are now arguing about the relevance of real estate fees that Patti Blagojevich accepted from convicted businessman Tony Rezko.

Prosecutors showed that Patti banked $12,000 a month from the Rezmar development company, and also accepted tens of thousands in other checks and home improvements.

The defense is now trying to get the Patti accusations knocked from the indictment, saying there was plenty of evidence that she did legitimate work for Tony Rezko and earned those commissions.

"The government has not come close to proving that those real estate fees were anything close to a bribe," defense attorney Shelly Sorosky said.

Judge Zagel cut in and offered a historical comparison.

"Do you by any chance know who the Everleigh sisters were?" They were madames in a high-class Chicago brothel around the turn of the 20th century.

The Everleigh sisters gave cash to various police officials in order to protect themselves and their business, Zagel explains.

"I think that that would constitute bribery, even though you might not be able to point to a single specific action or inaction taken by those police officers," Zagel explains. "It might be bribery over a dozen years. Here, hypothetically, six years. ... It's still a bribe, even though it's very difficult to point to what the quo was for the quid."

"I think you're construing it too narrowly," the judge tells the defense.

Zagel has adjourned court for the day, asking attorneys to return for a brief session tomorrow morning at 9:30.

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8 Comments

Dude; I wasn't refering to madams but the Everliegh sisters themselves, they were quite unique and yes hard working...just because they were management and not labor does not mean they didn't work hard.

Bessie judge Zagel wasnt calling her a prostitute but a bag lady who was collecting her cut of ill gotten gains, in this case kickback money. A madame doesnt perform for her clients but makes the transaction for her girls.

What the judge seems to be saying with his hooker analogy, is that Rezko is buying protection/assistance for any future illicit endeavor. So he must be saying that the feds would have enough to take down Obama on the same theory (lot purchase a full price, 250,000 aprx in fund raising).

Confusing is right... I'm no lawyer, but if I were Sam Adams, I tried and make the case Zagel a little bonkers...call the defendents wife a hooker...

Annon; the cash given to Patti was to pay for their renovations...I don't know if you would call it bribe money when it's continuous, Milorad and Tony were in business together...It was just a way to give Milorad his cut of the action, attempting not to cause any attention...It didn't work.

This analogy was confusing -- I thought the cash to Patti testimony was supposed to show that Rezko was giving ill gotten gain to Rod via Patti as part of the alleged conspiracy of the 1,2,3,4. Now it's a bribe to protect Rezko's business interests?

At least the Everleigh sisters worked for their money...

Zagel's one PC judge...where's he got off with the hooker things when talking about Patti's job?

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah Ostman published on July 21, 2010 3:34 PM.

Blagojevich trial: Defense lawyers argue to have conspiracy charges tossed was the previous entry in this blog.

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