Rezko trial: witness breaks early

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But businessman has much to say -- even if we can't understand it all

Businessman Sheldon Pekin, who suffers from Parkinson's Disease, struggled through testimony today.
Though he had important things to say -- talk of kickbacks and sham contracts -- much of it was warbled as the 72 year old struggled to speak clearly. Pekin needed help getting from his wheel chair to the witness stand. Pekin wasn't up to spending all day on the stand. He'll be back for cross examination tomorrow morning.

At one point, as he spoke, Judge St. Eve put her hands on her face and shook her head at the prosecutor. Another time, a fellow prosecutor shook his head. They were asking Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Niewoehner to have Pekin repeat his unintelligible answers. It seemed everyone was leaning forward trying to hear better.

However, a recording between Pekin and Levine did come through loud and clear though.
Stuart Levine could be heard expressing concern about a sarcastic remark Pekin made to a Rezko friend, Joe Aramanda. In discussing the timing of a second finder's fee payment directed to Aramanda, Pekin asked if "Christmas comes early this year." Aramanda didn't like the remark and apparently neither did Rezko, according to Pekin.
A nervous-sounding Levine asked Pekin in the phone call to make amends with Aramanda because he feared losing business with Rezko. "If we don't get it finished today, Tony's not going to do business with us anymore like that," Levine said on the phone. Pekin said Levine was referring to Rezko.

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Natasha Korecki

Natasha Korecki is the Federal Courts Reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, covering federal news, corruption investigations and trials.

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This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on March 17, 2008 3:14 PM.

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