In court today, prosecutors say that Tony Rezko asked former state official Ali Ata to give him cash to help prevent a lien on Gov. Blagojevich's Ravenswood Manor home.
There is no trial today, it is the first of two days off. The free days are designed to give the defense some time to prepare for Ata's testimony since he just came on as a witness last week.
Tony Rezko allegedly asked a Blagojevich administration official to pay him $125,000 so Rezko could use some of the money to stop construction contractors from putting a lien on Gov. Blagojevich's home, federal prosecutors said in court this afternoon.
Prosecutors want the official, former Illinois Finance Authority Executive Director Ali Ata, to be able to tell jurors in Rezko's trial about what happened. Rezko allegedly told Ata "This is going to be embarrassing to him [Blagojevich]" if the contractors placed a lien on Blagojevich's Ravenswood Manor home, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carrie Hamilton told U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve.
Rezko's defense team this afternoon filed court papers to limit what Ata can tell jurors about Rezko, who is accused of manipulating votes on state boards to enrich himself, associates and the governor's campaign fund.
"Ata claims that he gave or lent cash to Rezko on four or five occassions . . . and estimates the total cash disbursements amounted to $125,000," Rezko's lawyers wrote. "Ata alternatively stated he did not know what the cash was for, then proceeds to say he supplied $25,000 in cash to pay certain contractors who were threatening to put a lien on another individual's home."