Recently in Barack Obama Category

Governor not worried about Rezko

| | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0)

A day after prosecutors revealed his former adviser and fund-raiser is in talks with them, Gov. Blagojevich says he isn't worried.

Blagojevich pointed to a letter Tony Rezko wrote to U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve earlier this year saying he was under pressure to say "the wrong things" about Blagojevich and Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama.
"Tony Rezko sent a letter to a judge. In that letter, he expressly states neither Sen. Obama nor I did anything wrong," Blagojevich told reporters this morning.
"That letter is a pretty strong statement. It speaks for itself."
Shortly after the letter was publicized, Rezko's lawyers said Rezko had never spoken to prosecutors.
That changed following Rezko's June conviction on corruption charges.
If Rezko does cut a deal with the feds, that letter -- sent to a federal judge -- will no doubt haunt him as a witness.
As we reported in an earlier story, it isn't necessarily a deal breaker.
Former prosecutor Zachary Fardon noted in a June 16th story Scott Fawell, former chief of staff to Gov. George Ryan, wrote a similar letter, saying he wouldn't make up lies about Ryan.
Fawell was the star witness in Ryan's trial.
"Do I think he could effectively be crossed on this letter? Yes," Fardon said. "Does that mean they can't call him or use him [as a witness]? No."

Judge freezes Rezko money

| | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0)

A federal judge has frozen about $105,000 of Tony Rezko's money, saying it will more than likely end up going to the government.
The money is a portion of the funds put up with the court to secure the political fund-raiser's bond earlier this year.
Rather than return it now that Rezko is in jail awaiting sentencing, U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve froze it, agreeing with prosecutors that the money is traceable to proceeds from the sale of Rezko-controlled property.
Rezko is to be sentenced Oct. 28.
Rezko, who served as a top adviser to Gov. Blagojevich and fund-raiser to Blagojevich and Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama, has broken his silence and began talking with prosecutors in recent weeks.

Obama's Rezko ties kept under seal

| | Comments (32) | TrackBacks (0)

In January, the Sun-Times reported that a portion of the Tony Rezko case led to Barack Obama's campaign fund. Obama isn't accused of doing anything wrong. But Rezko allegedly used straw donors to kick into Obama's campaign fund during his run for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.

While none of that came out at trial, today, for the first time, a filing recently unsealed shows the government's initial intent to call witnesses about that aspect of the case. The judge in the case, Amy St. Eve, ruled that the prosecution could bring up Obama's name. But they never did. And references to Obama were not only kept out of the trial during his run for the primary -- it was kept under seal. Until today.

The filing indicates that the prosecution wanted witnesses to talk about Rezko's prowess as an Obama fund-raiser and his influence in getting two others -- Joseph Aramanda and Semir Sirazi -- to donate Rezko money to Obama's campaigns in their names. The money kicked into Obama's campaigns came from an illicit kickback scheme. Obama has since donated that money to charity.

Rezko trial: Another Obama mention

| | Comments (8) | TrackBacks (0)

Defense lawyer Joseph Duffy is pulling out all the stops in trying to diffuse the government’s case against Tony Rezko.

- Duffy told jurors that Rezko probably did more fund-raising for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), President Bush and St. Jude’s children’s hospital in 2003 than he did for Gov. Blagojevich. That includes “a Barack Obama fund-raiser or two.” This isn’t the first time Duffy trotted out Obama’s name during the trial. He did the same thing during opening statements.

- Duffy took aim at former Illinois Finance Authority Executive Director Ali Ata, saying Ata over-hyped his relationship with Rezko and under-hyped it with the Blagojevich and Mell families. Ata didn’t need Rezko to get a state job, Duffy said, because he was so close to the governor and Patti Blagojevich’s father, Ald. Dick Mell (33rd). “[Ata] could have gone and rang the doorbell at the governor’s house and probably gotten a hug from Patti,” Duffy said.

-Duffy on Blagojevich campaign contributions made by people who were appointed to posts on state boards and commissions: “They [prosecutors] want you to believe that people gave campaign contributions to get on boards that didn’t pay any money.”

-Duffy rebutting phone charts the government presented as evidence: “Mr. Rezko’s so-called political influence has been grossly, grossly overstated. How many phone calls did we have between Mr. Rezko and the governor? Remember that chart? It doesn’t exist.”

-- By Chris Fusco

Rezko trial: Obama escapes unscathed

| | Comments (11) | TrackBacks (0)


The Tony Rezko trial had potential to tarnish the name of Presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

But Obama turned out to be merely a blip in the trial, despite his longtime ties to Rezko.

Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown explores the issue in his column today.

Read: 'Rezko trial hasn't harmed Obama -- yet'

Witness: 'Patrick Fitzgerald would be terminated'

| | Comments (6) | TrackBacks (0)


Tony Rezko associate Elie Maloof (pictured above, right) just testified that when he received a grand jury subpoena, Rezko told him not to talk to the feds. Why?

"The federal prosecutor will no longer be the same federal prosecutor," Maloof just testified that Rezko told him. What did Rezko mean prosecutor Chris Niewoehner asked? "That Patrick Fitzgerald would be terminated and Dennis Hastert will name his replacement. The investigation will be over."

Maloof, who once helped run some of Rezko's fast-food businesses, said Rezko told him of Fitzgerald's replacement: "That they will order the prosecutor to stop the investigation."
It is the first time jurors heard an accusation that Rezko worked behind the scenes to oust Fitzgerald.

Rezko trial: Obama's name kept hush

| | Comments (11) | TrackBacks (0)


This morning at the Tony Rezko trial, before jurors entered the courtroom, lawyers discuss the expected testimony of Elie Maloof. Though Maloof is accused of making a straw donation to Barack Obama's campaign, lawyers and the judge this morning tiptoed around Obama's name, never mentioning it.

It appears when Maloof takes the stand in Rezko's trial, Obama will be kept out of the picture. Maloof is testifying with a grant of immunity from prosecution.

Obama on Auchi in his own words

| | Comments (9) | TrackBacks (0)

U.S. Presidential candidate Barack Obama sat down with Chicago Sun-Times reporters March 14th and answered a laundry list of questions regarding his relationship with Tony Rezko.

At that time, reporters also asked Obama about whether he had a relationship with Nadhmi Auchi.

Read on for the Q & A...

Rezko trial: Who didn't bring up Obama

| | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0)

The reception involving Nadhmi Auchi was mentioned before in the Tony Rezko trial, but just briefly.
And while the defense seemed to go out of its way to ask star witness Stuart Levine today whether U.S. Sen. Barack Obama and his wife attended the reception, the prosecution seemed to also go out of its way -- to not ask that question.

Obama bomb dropped

| | Comments (79) | TrackBacks (0)


When Tony Rezko held a reception at his home for Iraqi-born billionaire Nadhmi Auchi on April 3, 2004, White House hopeful Barack Obama and his wife were also there, Stuart Levine testified just now at Rezko's trial.

Auchi is the man who provided Rezko a $3.5 million loan that Rezko did not disclose to the court -- resulting in his January arrest.
"Mr. and Mrs. Obama were there, were they not?" Rezko lawyer Joseph Duffy asked.
"Yes, sir," Levine said.
Obama and his aides have said Obama has no recollection of ever meeting Auchi.
Rezko invited Levine to the reception after the two met up with each other during a family vacation in Puerto Vallarta. Rezko had to leave early to arrange for the reception, Levine testified. So Levine offered to rent a larger jet and fly Rezko's wife and children back to Chicago. That night, they all attended the reception.

The reception was aimed at getting Auchi interested in investing in Illinois, Levine said.

(Blagojevich with Auchi)

Rezko trial: Are jurors listening to Obama?

| | Comments (5) | TrackBacks (0)

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.

Rezko Trial: Cash for Obama

| | Comments (9) | TrackBacks (0)

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

Obama surfaces in Rezko trial

| | Comments (8) | TrackBacks (0)

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

Obama watcher shows up at Rezko trial

| | Comments (10) | TrackBacks (0)

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

| | Comments (4) | TrackBacks (0)

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.

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 in the Barack Obama category.

Gov. Blagojevich is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.