Tony Rezko associate Elie Maloof (pictured above, right) just testified that when he received a grand jury subpoena, Rezko told him not to talk to the feds. Why?
"The federal prosecutor will no longer be the same federal prosecutor," Maloof just testified that Rezko told him. What did Rezko mean prosecutor Chris Niewoehner asked? "That Patrick Fitzgerald would be terminated and Dennis Hastert will name his replacement. The investigation will be over."
Maloof, who once helped run some of Rezko's fast-food businesses, said Rezko told him of Fitzgerald's replacement: "That they will order the prosecutor to stop the investigation."
It is the first time jurors heard an accusation that Rezko worked behind the scenes to oust Fitzgerald.
Last week, prosecutors revealed that future witness Ali Ata will also testify that he knew of a plan by Rezko to eliminated Fitzgerald and replace him with someone who wouldn't go after Rezko.
On cross examination, though, Defense lawyer William Ziegelmueller asked whether he knew that it's President who appoints U.S. Attorneys.
Maloof also testified that Rezko told him not to bring up his name to prosecutors because it would only link to Gov. Blagojevich.
The conversation with Rezko, took place in February, 2004 inside of Rezko's Wilmette mansion. Only Rezko's housekeeper was there, aside from Maloof and Rezko.
Maloof said as they talked, Rezko had three cell phones in front of him.
"It was kind of weird, he had three cell phones in front of him," Maloof said.
When Maloof asked why, Rezko explained: "Just in case somebody’s listening," Maloof said.
What did he mean? “If the feds were listening.”
Was Mr. Rezko joking?
"No, it wasn’t a joke," Maloof said.
Maloof left the stand without ever invoking Barack Obama's name, despite previous allegations by prosecutors that he made a straw donation for Rezko to Obama's Senatorial campaign fund. It is clear that lawyers -- and the judge -- have been careful not to bring Obama's name into case, even outside the presence of the jury.
After Maloof left the stand, cameras chased him out of the federal courts building.
Newspaper photographers and television camera crews hustled to get in front of Maloof and, in what is a common scene in federal court, walked backwards, attempting not to run into one another while staying out of the rain.
Then Maloof asked something surprising: "You need me to slow down for you?"