Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar is wrapping up his closing argument against Tony Rezko. "Did the defendant knowingly join this fraud scheme?" Schar asked jurors. "He both joined it and participated in it."
Here are some of the summary points Schar just made in wrapping up the government's case against Rezko:
-Rezko saw to it that a business associate of his, Joe Aramanda, got a $250,000 finder's fee from an investment deal involving the state Teachers' Retirement System "even though Aramanda had done nothing" for the money.
-Rezko directed that Aramanda get the second of two $125,000 payments for the aforementioned fee ahead of schedule.
-Rezko inserted another business associate, Charles Hannon, into a second finder's fee deal in which Hannon was to do no work. Hannon was to keep 10 percent of the $750,000 deal. Rezko was to keep the rest. Ultimately, they never got the money because the deal fell apart.
-Rezko instructed Hannon to form an Illinois corporation so the aforementioned fee could look legit.
-Rezko arranged for another business associate, Michael Winter, to get a finder's fee for which Winter would do no work. Rezko "explains to Winter, 'I need more than a third (of the fee) because I need to take care of (fellow Gov. Blagojevich fund-raiser) Chris Kelly," Schar said.
-Rezko and Kelly told Winter that his name could not be on a finder's fee because Winter was too close to Rezko. Another name, the law firm of Myron "Mike" Cherry, was inserted in Winter's place on the paperwork.
-Rezko made sure that his top co-schemer, star prosecution witness Stuart P. Levine, was reappointed to the TRS board. Rezko also made certain that two other members who would vote as Rezko wished were appointed.
-Rezko agreed to a "$3.9 million division of finder's fees" that Levine presented to him. Rezko also agreed to a $1.5 million bribe in exchange for a Crystal Lake hospital being approved by the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, on which Rezko also controlled votes.
-In a May 18 phone call that neither man knew was being recorded, Rezko tells Levine "You and I will still do what we need to do. . . . [Planning Board Chairman] Tom [Beck] will carry the ball and nobody will know. . . . Tom should not know you and I are having this conversation." Schar maintains Rezko was the one giving the orders, and Levine was following them.
-Rezko saw to it that Ali D. Ata was appointed to head the Illinois Finance Authority after Ata gave campaign contributions to Blagojevich. Rezko then forced Ata to write a letter on IFA stationary that Rezko used in a separate loan-fraud scheme.
-Rezko told Ata and another business associate, Elie Maloof, not to talk to authorities when they came calling because U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was to be replaced.
The jury took its afternoon break at 2:45. Schar is expected to wrap up his closing when jurors return at 3 p.m. Rezko's defense lawyer, Joseph Duffy, is expected to begin his close shortly thereafter.
-- By Chris Fusco