Cannot be good news for Obama
Federal prosecutors moved Monday to delay indefinitely the sentencing of convicted fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko, sending their strongest hint yet that he is ready to spill his political secrets.
The filing asks for a postponement while prosecutors and defense attorneys “engage in discussions that could affect their sentencing postures.”
Speculation has simmered for weeks that the key fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Sen. Barack Obama was whispering what he knows about corruption in Illinois government to federal prosecutors in hopes of getting a lighter sentence.
As McCain starts his character offensive on The Obama, a resurfacing of Rezko is not what the Chicago politician needs.
Besides bankrolling a large portion of Blagojevich’s campaign, Rezko raised substantial funds for Obama’s past campaigns in Illinois – although none for his current presidential run.
Obama’s campaign says it has sent to charity $159,000 traceable to Rezko’s past fundraising.
While Blagojevich was frequently mentioned at Rezko’s trial, the testimony rarely touched on Obama, who has been accused of no wrongdoing.
Unmentioned at the trial was a purchase by Rezko’s wife, Rita, of property adjacent to the Obama home near the University of Chicago on the city’s South Side. Obama and his wife, Michelle, purchased their home the same day that Rezko’s wife closed on her property. And she later sold some of her property to the Obamas to enlarge their lot. Obama later said that allowing Rezko to do what appeared to be a favor was a “bonehead” move.
Rezko was convicted in June of mail fraud, wire fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering. Several of the charges carry 20-year maximum sentences and while Rezko would not be expected to served that much time for a first offense he is still looking at the possibility of years in federal prison. A deal with prosecutors could reduce his time considerably.
Moreover, Rezko faces the prospect of a second trial early next year on federal charges of swindling the General Electrical Capital Corp. out of $10 million in the sale of a group of pizza restaurants.