Rezko trial: Levine on the line

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We hear a series of calls telephone calls today involving Stuart Levine and businessman Joseph Cari. On the calls, Levine sounds increasingly desperate in his efforts to push through an investment deal for JER Partners. The firm was to receive a huge investment and Levine schemed to take a cut of the finder’s fee -- even though he sat on the board approving the deal. He says Rezko was to receive a portion of the fee as well.

Judge St. Eve also rules against the prosecution in its efforts to play a lengthy tape involving a conversation between William Cellini and Stuart Levine. The defense had said the recording was unfair and had little to do with Rezko.

St. Eve will let the prosecution edit out portions of the tape.
Here's my Monday story on the Cellini recording:

Natasha Korecki
Federal Courts Reporter
nkorecki@suntimes.com

Tony Rezko’s lawyers are trying to keep out of his trial portions of a secretly recorded phone call in which Republican power broker William Cellini talks of pay-to-play tactics in Gov. Blagojevich's administration.
“Tony and Chris . . . are
. . . essentially hammerin’ people . . . with contracts for fund-raising.” Cellini says on tape, according to a defense filing. “I’m a nervous wreck over it myself.”
Cellini is referring to Rezko and fellow Blagojevich fund-raiser Chris Kelly in a converstion with Stuart Levine, the government’s star witness.
Rezko’s attorneys moved, in a court filing over the weekend, to ban from the trial portions of the call because it amounts to “double and triple hearsay.”
A lengthy portion of the recording involves Hollywood Producer and businessman Tom Rosenberg, the filing says. Rosenberg angrily complained to Cellini that he was being extorted for a campaign contribution in exchange for state investment into his company, according to the phone call defense lawyers cite.
The feds charge that Levine and Rezko attempted to extort Rosenberg for $1.5 million contribution to Blagojevich.
Rezko lawyers say it isn’t fair to their client to include some of what Cellini talks about. That includes his saying he once told Kelly what to do “if someone comes in with badges and flashes them at you,” according to the filing.
Cellini also speculates about an investigation into Kelly and Rezko’s alleged practices saying there “is no question that it will happen.”
And Cellini relays Rosenberg’s opinion that “everybody who’s associated with these two are gonna get drug through the mud.”
Lawyers for Cellini and Kelly could not be reached Sunday.

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4 Comments

Not sure how Cellini's comments aren't important considering Big Bob K had Rezko listed as a lobbyist at his firm at one time?

Possibly that is what will tie this all together the TRS, Bear Stearns, Cellini, Bob K, Hurtgen, Blago, Knight E/A, $10 Billion in State Bonding millions in "finders fees"?

Part of St. Eve's reasoning behind cutting out portions of the tape -- it has to do with Tom Rosenberg's state of mind. Rosenberg will take the stand in the case. St. Eve said prosecutors can ask him about his own state of mind. Rosenberg will say he was shaken down. Cellini isn't taking the stand.

Does that mean they will get another chance to play the tape when Rosenberg takes the stand?

Amazing that you have Cari and Bob K in the same corruption trial. Considering both are top figures is their respective parties.

Also, one wonder if Bob K and Cellini were aware of the investigations considering how close Bob K was to the Washington Administration. One has to wonder why Bob K stopped listing Rezko as a lobbyist in his firm.

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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.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Natasha Korecki published on April 1, 2008 1:36 PM.

Rezko trial: $3.9 million? 'Tony's fine with all of it' was the previous entry in this blog.

Rezko trial: Scheme with a Hollywood Producer is the next entry in this blog.

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