Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rezko's Fate Now in the Hands of the Jury

Unfortunately, he did not take down, nor severely tarnish, Barack Obama. There are still many questions remaining regarding his ties to the Chicago fixer that was his friend. His fate now lies in the hands of the jury:

The federal corruption trial that has sent ripples through the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich has reached its final stage, and the fate of political insider Antoin "Tony" Rezko is now in the hands of the jury.

The panel that spent more than two months listening to testimony deliberated for about half an hour Tuesday afternoon after closing arguments ended.

Jurors began their work after lawyers on opposite sides of the case again clashed over the key evidence against Rezko. A prosecutor urged the jury to believe the former Blagojevich adviser was at the center of a crooked scheme to use his clout to enrich himself and his friends.

"This is a crime, ladies and gentlemen," said Assistant U.S. Atty. Christopher Niewoehner, speaking with an intensity the jury hadn't yet seen from the soft-spoken prosecutor. "This is a crime that involves the highest levels of power in Illinois."

The names of many in Blagojevich's inner circle were mentioned daily as the trial unfolded, and a shadow was cast on the governor himself as prosecutors explained to the jury how Rezko allegedly went about rewarding campaign contributors with state positions.

Niewoehner told jurors they had gotten a lesson from Rezko on how such clout could be used illegally to make money. First Rezko raised more than $1 million for the governor, and then he used the accompanying access and power to get certain people appointed to state posts.

"He's a victim of nothing but his own greed," Niewoehner said of Rezko. "And that is a victim you need not concern yourselves with."Tuesday's final round of arguments at times sounded like a battle of the geometric metaphors.

Rezko's lawyer, Joseph Duffy, compared the case against his client to the Great Pyramid of Egypt, an engineering marvel that sits perfectly balanced on its cornerstones. The message was that the prosecution's case was unsupportable because it rested solely on the claims of Stuart Levine, a drug-addled, memory-challenged member of two boards Rezko allegedly corrupted.

Niewoehner countered with circle imagery as he argued that an array of testimony and evidence blended together to prove Rezko's guilt. "It is not some pyramid, it is a circle of evidence that all connects and works together," said Niewoehner, telling the jury Rezko should be convicted of mail and wire fraud, aiding and abetting bribery, attempted extortion and money-laundering.

There are two possibilities for Tony Rezko. Either he will keep his mouth shut, and take the sentence handed down, or he will cut a deal, throw Governor Blagojevich under the bus, and skate on a much lighter sentence. Either way he will still face some jail time. That is a fate he cannot avoid; at least he should not avoid it provided the jury understands the case before them.

Tony Rezko was a piece of slime in Chicago politics. Like I said above, the only thing that stinks about this is that it did not bring Senator Obama down like we had hoped. We had really hoped that he would have hurt him as much as Jeremiah Wright did. Of course that damage was kept to a minimum all due to the media refusing to really cover it. The largest flap that occurred over that came in the Pennsylvania debate where the moderators addressed it. But CNN was the first outlet, last week, to make themselves a "Wright-free zone." This means that as far as they are concerned the issue is over.

We will see what is and is not over in the senator's life and past. Thomas and I agree that the Ayers/Dohrn connection is far from over, but again the media is refusing to cover it beyond the fact that he associated with them. They have not dug into that initial fundraiser they threw for him at their home, nor has anyone truly started digging into their relationship while on the Woods Foundation.

But the Rezko chapter of Senator Obama's life seems to have come to a close. Pity that. It would have been amusing to see him handle those questions had anything seriously damaging been revealed in the trial.



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