Defense wants to bar "bags of cash" evidence

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Tony Rezko defense lawyer Joseph Duffy said the government shouldn't be allowed to talk with witness Ali Ata about giving "bags of cash" to Tony Rezko. If that testimony comes in, it will be the most explosive allegation yet tying Rezko to cash payoffs. But Ata just pleaded guilty last week and the defense knew of his cooperation not long before that, giving Rezko's lawyers little time to prepare.

"This delay is so great that cross examination does not cure the problem," Duffy said.

Prosecutors contend Ata gave Rezko $125,000 in cash for various purposes, including $25,000 to stop a lien from being placed on the governor's Ravenswood Manor home. Ata said Rezko repeatedly came to Ata for cash after Ata got his job as director of the Illinois Finance Authority. Ata said he thought he needed to please Rezko to keep his job.
Duffy said there's no evidence though that the cash payments ever took place. He said he hired a forensic accountant who could not find suitable records from Ata's company, Jenin Distributors, to support a source of large sums of cash. Duffy even suggested the money came from drug proceeds derived by Ata's nephew, who was convicted of a drug charge.

"And I will submit to your honor, the veracity of this is so questionable, I have questions of whether this is competent evidence," Duffy said.

Judge Amy St. Eve said she already ruled to allow in the cash and she'd be pressed to overturn her ruling.

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go Judge Amy

Well, those of us outside the big city are watching closely. From all that is being reported, looks like Rezko may be ready to spill his gut and try to lessen his upcoming sentence. The other option is obvious - cut and run back across the pond. If Duffy isn't talking about an agreement to turn evidence with Fitz, he's not earning his salary.

small town guy - yes, one would think after today Rezko would be very interested in a deal - but then this guy had the narcissism to think he would get away with this in the first place.

Small town guy; when you have every politicain in the sate on your payroll, and you think you have the power to get the prosecutor fired, you are infallible, untouchable, you are the man in control. That old cliche' is still true "the bigger you are the harder you fall" t-i-m-b-e-r...

Sure, I guess it's easy to put yourself on that pedistal and put the septor in hand and crown on head. I guess I just thought that Blago was the only one who thought he could get away with this stuff. Shows what I know. I'd be singing like a song bird right about now to save my skin, knowing I'm about to get cooked. FYI - I hear Blago just lost Rebecca Rausch, she's had enough of this circus and is getting out while the gettings good. However, I'm sure she'll be called back as a witness in the Blago the Destroyer trial.

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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 May 1, 2008 1:34 PM.

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