Natasha Korecki: March 2008 Archives

Rezko trial: Money divvied up at Standard Club

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In April 2004, Stuart Levine invites Tony Rezko into a private room for dinner at the exclusive Standard Club downtown. Over dinner, Levine and Rezko talk about a series of deals on a state board that could bring them millions of dollars.
“I told Mr. Rezko that there was an opportunity for a lot of money to be made,” Levine said.
At the end, Rezko would make $3.9 million, according to Levine. They dined in a private room on a table that seats six. But only Levine and Rezko dined that night.

Levine: I'm going to the Cubs opener today

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What are the odds?
Stuart Levine is heard on tape played this afternoon in court telling businessman Sheldon Pekin: "I'm going to the Cubs opener today."
This obviously isn't in the present. The conversation goes back to April 12, 2004.
But today, Monday, really is the Cubs opener.
That is, if the rain doesn't keep interrupting the game.

Rezko trial: Defense complains of repeat calls

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Defense lawyers say it isn't fair for the prosecution to replay the same recordings with different witnesses.
In this case, the prosecution just played a tape of Stuart Levine and Sheldon Pekin talking. Levine is on the stand now, but when businessman Pekin was on the stand the jury heard the same tape.
In the meantime, the government says power-broker William Cellini will not be called as a government witness.

Levine: Mell wanted to make money

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Stuart Levine said that Bill Cellini asked him for help in getting money through an investment firm for Blagojevich's father-in-law Dick Mell. The firm wanted to win a state board investment and the finder's fee would go to Sheldon Pekin, who was friends with Levine. Levine would kickback half the fee to Mell.
"Mr. Cellini called me and told me that he and I might have a big opportunity to do a big favor for Mr. Rezko and Mr. Kelly," Levine said.

"Mr. Cellini indicated very directly that he knew that Mr. Rezko and that Mr. Kelly were getting a lot of pressure from the governor's father-in-law, Dick Mell... for Dick Mell to make money.
And Mr. Cellini indicated to me that in the event that he, Mr. Cellini and I -- or I -- could help him solve this problem, it would greatly ingratiate us with Mr. Kelly and Mr. Rezko," Levine said from the stand.

Ultimately though: "As these conversations continued, I was told that Mr. Mell was not going to participate."


Rezko trial: Crystal Meth and Special K

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Stuart Levine returns from lunch and discusses his extensive drug use.

Levine said he regularly did cocaine but switched to Crystal Meth and Special K.
Levine said he snorted the drugs in their powder form, including while he worked at his offices at the Hancock Building downtown and in his Deerfield office.
"I’d prepare them in lines ... 1/2 inch long and very, very narrow," Levine said.
The effects of euphoria and lowered inhibitions lasted several hours, he said.
Levine said he withdrew nearly $10,000 in cash every week to help pay for drugs. From 2000-2004 he had spent $1 million on drugs.
He pretty much stopped his drug use in May of 2004.
Why? The FBI had paid him a visit about his illegal dealings on state boards.
"I was afraid of being caught," Levine said.

Tony Rezko's defense lawyers have subpoenaed Sheri Levine, the wife of top prosecution witness Stuart Levine. Levine has been on the stand for the last two weeks talking of multi-million dollar illicit deals, and dropping names of high-profile businessmen and politicians.
Sheri Levine's lawyer moved to quash the subpoena today, according to court records. She is protected by marital privilege, her lawyer argues.

Rezko trial: Ethics 'just for show'

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Before the lunch break, Stuart Levine talks about a new ethics ordinance that Gov. Blagojevich put into place that in part banned ex-parte communications, or private talk by board members about board business.

Levine said Tony Rezko told him not to worry about the ethics ordinance because no one "of any consequence" would abide by the new restrictions, "They were just for show," Levine testified Rezko told him.

Enough to make a juror chuckle

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Today TRS Executive Director Jon Bauman takes a beating. Stuart Levine says of Bauman:
“Jon has a couple of personality traits that are problematic: He’s an arrogant guy and he’s stupid,” Levine is heard saying on a recorded phone call.
While reading the transcript of the call, a male juror laughs out loud, though quietly, putting his hand to his face and shaking his head. Levine also says Bauman is like a moth to a flame, calling Chris Kelly the flame.

Stuart Levine brings up the governor again this morning. Levine testifies he asked Blagojevich advisers and fund-raisers Chris Kelly and Tony Rezko to help convince the governor
not to consolidate the three state pension funds. The state budget director, John Filan, had recommended the move.
blago-Levine

Levine: Pay-to-play was the game

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The morning starts off with a bang as usual with Stuart Levine on the stand.
Within minutes Levine and prosecutor Chris Niewoehner have this exchange:
“What is your understanding of why Mr. Rezko and Mr. Kelly would recommend investment firms?” Niewoehner asks.
“In order to reward campaign contributors,” Levine says.

Rezko trial: After a week break, trial is back on

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Star witness Stuart Levine is expected to take the stand this morning to continue his testimony. This week, Levine will talk about an attempted extortion plot against a Hollywood producer.

It appears the prosecution wants to play a recorded conversation between powerful Republican William Cellini and Stuart Levine, the government's top witness, who is expected to get back on the stand Monday morning. Cellini talks about two Blagojevich fund-raisers and the possibility of an investigation into trading board posts for campaign cash. The defense filed a motion over the weekend trying to keep out portions of that May 8, 2004 recording. They say it has nothing to do with

blago-Levine

The answer the governor gave last night to reporters: "Let me answer that question with an answer. I'm not a party in that trial."
"I'm not following the trial. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on a trial I'm not a party in," Blagojevich said.
Reporters then pressed Blagojevich on whether sworn testimony at Tony Rezko's trial was accurate. Witness Stuart Levine said the governor told him "stick with us and you'll do very well for yourself."
Blagojevich was asked if that testimony was true.
"You know, that's a good question," Blagojevich said. "I'm not a party in that trial; I'm not in a place where I think it's appropriate for me to comment on a trial that I'm not involved in."
Watch the video and report by Channel 5's Phil Rogers:
Channel 5's report: Watch the video

2nd Blago fundraiser to go to trial

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Today a federal judge set a trial date for Chris Kelly, former fund-raiser to Gov. Blagojevich.
Kelly's trial is set for Nov. 10.
Unlike Rezko, Kelly's charges have to do with personal, rather than public business. Kelly's accused of illegally paying his gambling debts.
(Also, prosecutors today said they expected Rezko's trial to end sometime in May.)

ChrisKelly.jpg

Week break good for incarcerated Rezko

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By Natasha Korecki
Federal Courts Reporter

At one point last week during his testimony, Stuart Levine said he talked with Tony Rezko about negative headlines that were stirred up from an unpopular board vote.
When Levine brought up the critical newspaper articles, Rezko gave him a “dour” look, Levine testified. Levine interpreted the look to mean that Rezko didn’t want to hear any criticism about that vote, which Rezko’s accused of orchestrating.
Listening from the defendant’s table that day, Rezko quietly laughed to himself and shook his head as if to say: “you gotta be kidding me.”

Rezko-Levine

Sharks are circling

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For those of you who didn't see Higgins' cartoon

sharks

His commentary on Stuart Levine (the finger-pointer) swimming next to Tony Rezko. I don't think I need to ID the third person.

Off this week

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There's no trial this week, testimony starts back up Monday.

Another legal headache for Rezko

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Son of Nation of Islam founder files a lawsuit against Tony Rezko, accusing the fund-raiser, who's now on trial, of bilking him out of his South Side mansion.
Read today's story: Rezko lawsuit
mansion

Rezko trial: Listen to Tony Rezko

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After passing down voting orders for a state board, Tony Rezko tells top prosecution witness Stuart Levine not to discuss the conversation with board chairman, Tom Beck.
"Tom should not know you and I are having this conversation," Rezko can be heard telling Levine on tape.
Prosecutors only played a portion of the phone call and are expected to play the rest later in the trial.
Here's the transcript and recording.
Click here to read transcript and hear Rezko-Levine call

The recording, at its most basic level, shows a relationship between Levine and Rezko and that they had an arrangement regarding the health planning board for at least a few months.

More on Obama-Rezko

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Tony Rezko comes up as a "sleazy fund-raiser" as New York Times columnist looks at Obama's speech on race.

Maureen Dowd: Obama's fund-raiser

Jurors have heard recording after recording so far in Tony Rezko's three-week trial. On Friday, they heard Rezko himself for the first time.

Read today's story: Jury hears Rezko calls

Rezko trial: Juror dismissed because of illness

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I guess my speculation yesterday was right.
A day after it was clear we had one less juror sitting in the panel, Judge St. Eve formally announced a juror was dismissed because of illness. I reported in the blog yesterday that we were down to 17 of 18 jurors. That happened after a juror complained she felt ill on Wednesday, which ended the day at noon. On Thursday, the same juror didn't return.
St. Eve made the announcement Friday after the Sun-Times left a message the day before with her chambers asking why a juror appeared to be missing.

Stuart Levine continues to drag big names into the Tony Rezko corruption trial. And before we ended for the week this afternoon, he set off some more fireworks bringing in the names of political heavyweights Bill Cellini and Robert Kjellander. Levine said he did a favor for Kjellander by getting a $150 million investment for the Carlyle Group with the Teachers' Retirement System board. Levine sat on the board. Kjellander represented Carlyle. Levine said he didn't expect anything in return -- but he later got it.
After the TRS board approved the investment, Levine said Cellini paid him a visit. Cellini told Levine that he no longer had to pay Kjellander $75,000 for work Kjellander did on behalf of a company Levine represented. "I was very pleased with that," Levine told prosecutor Chris Niewoehner.
Levine said the forgiven debt amounted to a personal benefit he never disclosed to TRS -- even though he was supposed to.

The government played three conversations today between star witness Stuart Levine and Tony Rezko.
Just one of the tapes has some real substance to it. In it, Rezko can be heard directing Levine on how to arrange votes on the hospital planning board.

Star witness Stuart Levine tells the jury today that he wrote a check for $3 million -- and forgot.
He saw a copy of the check and started an inquiry with his secretary to find out how his signature got on it. Um, he was the one who signed it.
Levine testified this happened in 2004. That's the same year that FBI agents approached him. Before that, Levine said he regularly abused a significant amount of drugs.
The defense will certainly use the revelation of an example of Levine's questionable memory as he testifies against Tony Rezko.

Rezko trial: From millionaire to bankrupt?

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Witness Stuart Levine tells us in near breathtaking detail about his millions of dollars of misdeeds.
But how much money will he turn over to the feds as punishment? $5 million. How much has Levine turned over so far? $1.8 million. Sounds like a lot at first blush.
But after the millions of dollars Levine talked about handling in various not-for-profits, it seems like chump change.
Levine testified he and his wife, Sheri, have assets of more than $4 million. but he didn't expect to benefit from her share of the assets. Sounds like she's filed for divorce, but just before prosecutors talked about that, the defense stepped in so the jury didn't hear.
Levine has not been wearing a wedding ring. However, it sounds like Levine hasn't worn a ring in years ...


Rezko trial: Neither rain nor sleet nor snow...

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The Rezko trial is on this morning and Stuart Levine, whose testimony grows more interesting by the minute, is back on the stand. We're expected to start off this morning with another lengthy recording played in court.

Judge St. Eve promised jurors the day will end by 1 ...

Listen to Rezko witness on tape

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Victor Reyes comes up in Rezko trial

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Victor Reyes, who has wielded clout as an Hispanic Democratic Organization leader and former Mayor Daley patronage chief, added to the list of political heavyweights involved in an $81 million controversial deal to approve a suburban hospital.
Reyes was a lobbyist for Mercy Hospital in 2004 -- the same time Rezko and businessman Stuart Levine were allegedly putting in the fix to pass the project and make money on the side.
Levine essentially testified today that Reyes was used.

Senior citizen kicked out of Rezko trial

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Her offense: cell phone went off.

Not sure what was the bigger offense, that she forgot to turn off her phone or that her ring tone was set to: "Love, Love me do..."

Judge Amy St. Eve has said if a phone goes off in court, the person will not be allowed back in for the remainder of the day.

Witness: Rezko's power unprecedented

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The power Tony Rezko wielded over the governor's office was unprecedented, witness Stuart Levine told Rezko jurors today. And Levine said this after having a pretty lengthy history of working in Illinois' corrupt system, as he's described in court.

For more: Rezko's clout

Rezko trial: 'Spartacus' revealed

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Amid the shakedowns, bribes and kickbacks overheard on an FBI wiretap in Tony Rezko's trial, Stuart Levine could be heard referencing "Spartacus" who was just about to march into Rome.

When prosecutor Chris Niewoehner had Levine explain the reference to the jury, Levine smiled:
"I was watching the movie Spartacus and I didn't want Steve (Loren) to come in at an exciting part."

Loren is the lawyer who Levine said he could "control" when he was hatching a $1 million bribe scheme.

The Governor's deal with Levine

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Read today's story: Levine and Blago's secret deal

Rezko witness: 'I'll bring the governor."

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Tony Rezko trial witness Stuart Levine jokes on tape that in an arranged meeting set up to impress an investor, he'll bring all the necessary people.
Besides himself and a connected lawyer, Levine quipped: "Why don't I bring the governor?"
We know this because the words were captured on an FBI wiretap and played in court today.
Levine was then asked to explain. Was he serious?
Appearing to try to keep a smile off his face, Levine responded: "This was strictly jokes."
Rezko looked on. He did not appear amused.

Prosecutor Chris Niewoehner played a recording today at Tony Rezko's trial where star witness Stuart Levine could be heard laughing and joking as he schemed with another man to make money off a hospital project.
"We will be so protected, you cannot imagine," Levine could be heard saying on tape.
The irony, of course, is the FBI caught them on tape. We're hearing his words played in a courtroom, with more than a dozen reporters scribbling down notes. And Levine's explaining the conversation from the witness stand.

Rezko trial: One juror gone

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The female juror who was seen coughing yesterday does not appear to be here today.
I'm counting 17 jurors, instead of 18 today. The trial ended early yesterday -- at noon- after a juror gave Judge St. Eve a note. St. Eve never announced a reason behind the early end to yesterday's trial.

Speculation: juror was still sick today but no one wanted to hold up everything any longer.

Rezko trial: Back in this morning

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Stuart Levine takes the stand again this morning. What will come out of his mouth today?
Stay tuned.

Second Blago fundraiser dragged into Rezko trial

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Another name came up pretty often Wednesday in Stuart Levine's testimony: Chris Kelly.
Kelly is another former Blagojevich fund-raiser who was indicted in a tax scheme late last year.
Unlike Rezko, Kelly wasn't charged in connection to his state business. But Levine's testimony Wednesday put Kelly in the room during many conversations. "(Rezko) told me that Mr. Kelly was very close fried and he had no secrets from Mr. Kelly," Levine said.

Stuart Levine, the top witness in the Tony Rezko trial, has been on the stand for just a little more than three hours over two days and already he's done considerable damage. He's dropped bombshells on Gov. Blagojevich and Ed Vrdolyak, and told of various bad deeds committed by old friends.

Taking the stand is one of the toughest things Levine has ever had to do, his lawyer said.
"This is obviously a very difficult situation he's in and he's handling it the very best he can," Levine's lawyer, Jeffrey Steinback said after court Wednesday.
Levine's cooperation helped him cut a deal to serve just 67 months in prison when he could have faced up to life.

More...

'Blagojevich drawn into Rezko trial'

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Rezko trial: Trial ends early today

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Star witness Stuart Levine testified from 9:30 until noon and lowered the boom, talking about conversations with the governor and his staff, private jet trips to New York and Mexico with Rezko.
But before we could hear more, we broke for the day. Judge St. Eve said it was due to a juror issue but didn't explain why. However, a female juror this morning was coughing and using tissues.

Rezko trial: President Blagojevich?

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Star witness Stuart Levine said Tony Rezko had "great hopes and expectations" in the early days of Blagojevich's time as governor. Rezko told Levine he hoped Blagojevich "would run for president ... although it was a long shot." Levine said Rezko told him that Rezko and the governor had "a very long and close relationship."

Star witness Stuart Levine says he chartered a jet to New York and Gov. Blagojevich was a passenger.
Levine thanked Blagojevich for appointing him to a state hospital board.
Blagojevich allegedly replied:
“Never discuss any state board with me. You discuss them with Tony Rezko or Chris Kelly, but you stick with us, and you’ll do very well for yourself.”
Levine told the jury how he interpreted that statement: “I took it to mean I would have an opportunity to make a lot of money.”

'Welcome to the Vrdolyak trial'

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Tony Rezko's attorney Joseph Duffy jokes with reporters this morning minutes before trial is about to start. Duffy said to a long line of reporters waiting to the get into the courtroom...

Click here to read today's story: Star Rezko witness says he paid Vrdolyak bribes

Rezko trial: Schools contract

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Main witness Stuart Levine talks about helping a Chicago firm get a big-money contract with Chicago Public Schools.

Rezko trial: Putting it in perspective

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Star witness Stuart Levine's allegations that Ed Vrdolyak took bribes is the first time ...

A Vrdolyak primer

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Edward "Fast Eddie" Vrdolyak came up in Tony Rezko's trial today. He retired from Chicago politics years ago. But it seems he still knows the players, given testimony in today's trial.

Rezko trial: Star witness didn't waste time

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Within minutes of taking the witness stand late today, Stuart Levine tells of alleged bribes to Vrdolyak:
Read the online story: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/rezko/848854,levinetest031808.article

Rezko trial: star witness drops bombshells

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In opening minutes, Stuart Levine wakes up courtroom

Levine: I paid bribes to Vrdolyak

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Stuart Levine, the prosecution's star witness in the corruption trial of businessman and political fund-raiser Tony Rezko, took the witness stand at 4:12 p.m.

Early in his testimony, Levine began detailing how he paid bribes to help companies obtain government contracts. Among those he paid was former Ald. Edward Vrdolyak, he testified.

Levine said it was his understanding that the bribe money would be passed by Vrdolyak to others.

More to come as details are available.

Rezko trial: Fitzgerald sighting

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U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald dropped in on the Tony Rezko trial earlier today.

Rezko trial: Slowing down

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Cross examination of Molly Phalen at the Tony Rezko trial slows to a crawl.

Sounds like Tony Rezko's chief witness in the trial, Stuart Levine, will be up soon.

A wealthy businessman says he worked with middleman on kickback scheme and never met Rezko.

Rezko trial: Investor told to "Back off'

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A witness talking about kickbacks in the Tony Rezko trial says insider controlled deals.

Rezko trial: 'Witness ties Ald. Mell to scheme'

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Read today's story about Gov. Blagojevich's father-in-law Dick Mell.

Rezko trial: businessman to face questions

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Sheldon Pekin, who told of a kickback scheme with Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine, will face defense questioning today.

Dick Mell confronts Fitzgerald

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Rezko trial: With Ald. Dick Mell coming up in Rezko's trial today, I thought I'd revisit another interesting post from a few weeks ago.

Rezko trial: Monday recordings

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Stuart Levine, star witness in the Tony Rezko trial, sounds somewhat panicked at times in a recorded conversation with a businessman.

Rezko trial: Jurors asked about media coverage

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After Barack Obama dominated headlines this weekend, judge asks jurors if they're obeying her order.

Rezko trial: Dick Mell responds

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Read more about Ald. Dick Mell surfacing in the Rezko trial and his response...

Rezko trial: Seeing green

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Greenbacks and green on their backs...

Rezko trial: witness breaks early

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But businessman has much to say -- even if we can't understand it all

Rezko trial: Ald. Dick Mell surfaces

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Businessman talks of sham deal in Tony Rezko's trial

Rezko trial: Talk will turn to kickbacks

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Businessman Sheldon Pekin to take stand next

Rezko trial: 'Don't change your vote'

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One board member told another to stay the course

Rezko trial: Ed Kelly on the brain

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Keeping Rezko away from the planning board

Rezko trial: Meeting with Tony unremarkable

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Defense downplays Rezko influence on board

Rezko trial: star witness could soon take stand

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We could see Stuart Levine this week

Tony Rezko in Obama's own words

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Barack Obama's take on Tony Rezko and other issues

Rezko trial: Are jurors listening to Obama?

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Jurors in Tony Rezko's trial are not supposed to listen, watch or read the news. But Obama's recent comments might be tough to ignore.

Obama's remarks good for Rezko

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Obama says Tony Rezko never asked him for a favor and he still considers Rezko a friend even as his trial is underway.

Rezko Trial: Cash for Obama

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Barack Obama tells the Sun-Times today Tony Rezko raised more for him than previously thought

Monday

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No trial today. Everyone returns Monday.

Rezko Trial: Irony of all ironies

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Tony Rezko once appointed to same board at issue now in his trial.

Getting his story straight

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Another look at a former hospital board chairman's testimony

Rezko's recommendations

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Former Metra chair Jeff Ladd testifies Rezko held power

Onetime Metra chairman takes the stand

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Former Metra board chairman Jeff Ladd testifies against Rezko in trial

Rezko trial: Doc on the run

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Doctor tries to dodge photographers after Rezko trial testimony

The money's flowing

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Let's recap some payments at the Tony Rezko trial.

'That's how Tony would want it'

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Lutheran General Hospital pathologist takes stand at Tony Rezko trial

'My mother's sister's husband's sister's son'

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Witness at Tony Rezko trial talks about his connections

Back in this morning

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Thomas Beck continues testimony in the Tony Rezko trial

Here's one of the phone calls

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Listen to a recorded phone call played at the Tony Rezko trial. (Click here to play recording.)

'Take this job and shove it'

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Board chairman says in Tony Rezko's trial he refused a political vote. Then he flipflopped.

Democrats like hospitals

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In today's trial, Tony Rezko lawyer tries to explain controversial Mercy hospital approval

Tony called the shots

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Witness in Tony Rezko trial said Rezko gave state board marching orders.

Caught on Tape

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FBI agent in Tony Rezko trial names people caught on recording

Witness gets immunity

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This morning in Tony Rezko's trial, Judge Amy St. Eve immunized Thomas Beck

More Murphy

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Anne Murphy back on the stand this morning in Tony Rezko's trial

Rezko's office

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It was the place to meet on "most" Mondays

A scandalous trend?

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It was once rare for a governor to be indicted

A 'collective gasp'

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Lawyer talks about reaction to controversial vote

Frankly speaking

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State Rep. Jack Franks comes up at trial

Change of subject

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Please.

We could hear tapes today

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Prosecutors want to play recorded phone calls between Stuart Levine

'What is your opinion...of Gov. Blagojevich?'

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Rezko jurors were asked for their positions on the governor and warned Obama's name ...

Here's the memo

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This is the memo mentioning Obama today at trial.

Obama comes up again

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Today in the Rezko trial, Barack Obama, as a state senator, was consulted on the makeup of a state board...

Blago's chief counsel back on the stand

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Susan Lichtenstein left Blagojevich's administration abruptly in 2004.

Who's giving Blago the big bucks

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Just one person raised more money than Tony Rezko, evidence at trial showed.

No trial today

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The trial will usually run Monday through Thursdays.

Dirtying up Levine

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Defense calls key witness "the most corrupt individual you'll ever see in your lifetime."

Rezko raised $1.4 million for governor

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An FBI agent reveals today that Tony Rezko raised far more than previously thought for the governor.

Obama surfaces in Rezko trial

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Defense lawyer Joseph Duffy tells jurors about Rezko's work as an Obama fundraiser.

For the Defense

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Now its the defense's turn

Openings begin

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Assistant U.S. District Attorney Carrie Hamilton begins opening statements for the prosecution.

The people going to battle

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Here's a little more background on the lawyers involved in the Tony Rezko case ...

Did Rezko pay bribe for an Iraqi deal?

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Allegation of a $1.5 million bribe surfaces

We have a jury

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But we don't know who they are.

Down to 44

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That’s the number of people left in the jury pool. Jury questioning for Rezko’s corruption trial officially ended late afternoon Tuesday.

Only in Chicago

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So U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and Public Official A’s father-in-law meet in a courtroom hallway...

What happened to Obama girl?

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After the Sun-Times reported in today's paper and in yesterday's blog that Barack Obama's campaign sent a court watcher to Tony Rezko's trial...

Jury selection day two

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As Obama faces questions on the campaign trail, questioning starts for the next round of Rezko jurors

Who's Taking the Stand

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U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve read the witness list in court Monday. Here’s some highlights from the more than 35 names.

Obama watcher shows up at Rezko trial

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U.S. Sen. Barack Obama has someone attending the Tony Rezko trial.

A woman sitting in on jury selection was identified as attending court "for Obama," when a courtroom security officer asked all the people in an overflow courtroom to identify their organizations.

Rumor: Obama to be called as witness

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Just minutes into the Tony Rezko trial this morning, the first rumor hit — that Rezko's lawyers plan to call U.S. Sen. Barack Obama as a witness. Not true, said Rezko's lawyers, dismissing the idea. Rezko was a campaign fund-raiser for Obama during his successful 2004 run for the U.S. Senate.

Rezko witness list includes Hollywood producer

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As jury selection got underway this morning, a federal judge for the first time revealed the list of people expected to testify at the trial of businessman and political fund-raiser Tony Rezko.

U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve quickly read from the list, which appeared to lack any political bombshells.
Included was Thomas Rosenberg, a Hollywood producer allegedly shaken down for a political contribution as he sought state business.

Rezko appeared somewhat relaxed in court this morning. He smiled wide, whispered and at times chuckled at friends and family sitting in courtroom benches behind him.

Jury selection begins today

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As I reported in today's Sun-Times, Tony Rezko' is getting his day in court, as jury selection begins.


Tony Rezko's trial may stain Gov. Blagojevich and, to a smaller degree, Barack Obama. (AP photo)

Key an eye right here for regular trial updates on the Sun-Times' newest blog.

Natasha Korecki

Natasha Korecki is the Federal Courts Reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, covering federal news, corruption investigations and trials.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Natasha Korecki in March 2008.

Natasha Korecki: April 2008 is the next archive.

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