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.