The last significant witness in the Tony Rezko trial took the stand moments ago.
Ali Ata, a former Blagojevich administration official, got right into his explosive testimony, saying that he passed a $25,000 check to the governor in Tony Rezko's office.
Ata said he arrived at Rezko's Elston Avenue office in 2002. In the back conference room sat Blagojevich's kitchen cabinet, including, Blagojevich campaign manager Lon Monk, fund-raiser Chris Kelly, Rezko and Jay Hoffman.
"I learned that Mr. Hoffman was part of a select group of advisers that were referred to as the kitchen cabinet," Ata said.
Soon, Blagojevich, Ata and Rezko were alone in the room as the other men stepped outside, he said.
With the check on the table, the conversation started.
"Mr. Blagojevich thanked me for my support in the past, for being a team player and a supporter," Ata said.
"Mr. Rezko stated that I had expressed interest in serving in the administration. Blagojevich stated again that I had been a supporter and a friend and asked Mr. Rezko if I had identified job opportunities and Mr. Rezko said yes," Ata said.
At that, Rezko lawyer Joseph Duffy stood up and objected to Blagojevich's conversation, asking if it was being admitted as hearsay.
Prosecutor Carrie Hamilton's reply had to do with the law. But for a moment it had a different ring to it.
"No, certainly, Mr. Blagojevich's statements are not being offered for the truth," she said.