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Chicago Corruption Trials and the Sounds of Silence


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American Thinker:

Barack Obama's and Rod Blagojevich's convicted felon fund-raiser, Tony Rezko, has recently been sentenced to ten years minus 44 months for time served in jail for wide-ranging corruption. Many people would like to ask him about his connections to others who knew -- even participated in -- practices that helped to get him planted in the pokey. They are also curious about why he was never subpoenaed to testify at trials of some of those who were subsequently convicted of corrupt associations with him, including former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
It's very apparent that the FBI had compelling criminal evidence against Blago long in advance. This included information provided by Stuart Levine, a lawyer who had served on the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board when then-State Senator Obama chaired the Illinois Health & Human Services Committee. Levine had pled guilty in October 2006 to some of the same corruption counts as Rezko, and was since cooperating with the feds to escape imprisonment.

So why did U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald wait until December 9, 2008, just about one month after the 2008 presidential election, to arrest Blago following years of investigation? Right from the jump, let's recognize that Fitz is broadly regarded as an upstanding, nonpartisan prosecutor. After all, he was appointed by President G.W. Bush, and had previously lost no time pursuing charges against Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, Scooter Libby, and President G.W. Bush's deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove, for their falsely alleged outing of former CIA agent Valerie Plame. Nor had he dallied in going after former Illinois Governor George Ryan, a Republican, in a scandal that had been had been swirling around long before Fitzgerald was appointed.

In fact, these previous actions have actually increased suspicions in some quarters that failure to expedite the Blago trial or subpoena Rezko may have been influenced by pressures to keep a lid on embarrassing information that could have impacted then-Senator Obama's election chances. Fitzgerald was obviously aware of this sensitivity at the time of his press conference statement on the day of Blago's arrest. He went out of his way to dispel such speculation, declaring: "We make no allegations that Obama was aware of any alleged scheming by Blagojevich." Yet the one person who could have conclusively proved otherwise was never called to give testimony.

Some of the reporters present weren't so sure, questioning reasons for the delay and what the DOJ knew regarding Obama's knowledge of charged criminal activities leading up to the arrest. One asked:

"Sir, just to be crystal clear and to make clear, you're not aware of any conversations then that took place with the governor and any member of Barack Obama's transition team at all?"

Fitzgerald replied:

"And what I simply said is that you can read the complaint. I'm not going to sit here with a 76-page complaint and parse through it. That's what we are alleging. And I'm just -- I'm not going to start going down and saying, did anyone talk to anyone."

A reporter went on to ask:

"...you talked about keeping your superiors informed as to what was going on, I'm assuming that means the Attorney General. In the briefings that President-elect Obama had over the past week with various government departments, would it be possible for him to have been briefed on what was going on here with regard to this investigation?"

The normally articulate Fitzgerald responded:

"I--I--I--I'm not--I'm not--I'm not the briefer, I'm not at those briefings. But I would say this was very close in Washington, and on the need to know basis. So, I'm--but I'm not going to--I'm not the briefer, so I'm not going to represent what happens. But--I'll leave it at that."snip
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Thanks, I am emailing this link and another one. ;)



Posted these specifically because I knew two people who would be interested ;)

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I was disappointed with the Trib's coverage of the Rezko verdict. They completely glossed over the obvious long-term Obama/Rezko connection and only spoke of Rezko/Blago.


The Sun on the other hand led with the Obama angle.


The Trib might need to coop and change a NYTimes slogan... "All the News that's Fit to Not Print."

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