Barack Hussein Obama Donor Guilty!!
Political Fundraiser Has Surrendered, To Begin Serving Time Immediately.
A prominent fundraiser for Sen. Barack Obama and Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted Wednesday of fraud and money laundering after a high-profile federal trial provided an unusually detailed glimpse of the pay-to-play politics that has made Illinois infamous.
Antoin "Tony" Rezko, 52, showed no emotion as the jury delivered a mixed verdict that found him guilty of scheming with the government's star witness to get kickbacks out of money management firms wanting state business, but acquitted him of charges that included attempted extortion.
U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald told reporters the verdict represented "an antidote to the poison of corruption" that trial testimony alleged included the fixing of state boards that controlled a $40 billion pension fund and made major decisions about hospital construction.
"A whole number of people who were involved seemed to think they could profit by taking the inside control, and I hope people step back and say when you do that, it's gonna come back and bite you in a serious way," Fitzgerald said. "And I hope people, if they don't get the moral sense, they shouldn't be taking the pensions of teachers and abusing it for their own purposes, to stick money in their own pocket; if they don't think the hospital system is something that should be operated as best it can be, instead of just operated to make money for your friends, if the morals don't get to them, I hope that the fear of going to jail does."
Rezko attorney Joseph Duffy said the defense is "obviously very disappointed" in the jury's guilty verdicts. He said Wednesday afternoon they will pursue and appeal.
Duffy says it was Rezko's decision to surrender and begin serving his sentence. Sentencing is set for September 3rd at 10 a.m. The maximum sentence he could face is 20 years in prison.
The jury's mixed verdict acquitted Rezko of some of the most serious charges, including attempted extortion. Rezko was found guilty of 16 of 24 counts.
He was found guilty on the two more serious counts, on money laundering and aiding and abetting money laundering, counts 23 and 24.
The jury obviously took issue with some of the charges, resulting in the eight acquittals. They wrestled over matters in a 13-day deliberation process, delivering its verdict after a nine-week trial.
Some of the jurors chose to comment after the verdict was read, speaking about the scope of the trial and the role of star witness Stuart Levine.
"The task before us was a difficult and challenging one," said juror Susan Lopez. "It was with caution and great care that each juror viewed the evidence presented."
Juror Mona Lisa Mauricette said, "On those counts where Levine was involved, we put it in consideration with everything else. If there were e-mails involved, if there was the wiretapping involved, we put it all together, so we weren't just basing it on his testimony in those counts where we found guilty."
At least one juror indicated that the mention of Gov. Blagojevich during the trial had no effect on their deliberations.
Rezko has known Obama since he entered politics and was involved in a 2005 real estate deal with the Democratic presidential candidate, although testimony barely touched on their relationship. Most of the focus was on shakedowns prosecutors said Rezko arranged when he was a top adviser to Blagojevich.
Rezko was essentially on trial for pay to play deals involving the exchange of money for state contracts and positions under Blagojevich – or "Public Official A" as Blagojevich was referred to in court.
Blagojevich has repeatedly denied taking part in any of the shadowy political dealings that were described from the witness stand. On Wednesday, he read a prepared statement to reporters in which he called Rezko "a friend" who "was a supporter."
"On a personal level I am deeply sad for what's happened to Tony," Blagojevich said. "The jury's decision is yet another reminder that ours is a system of government that is ruled by laws and not by men. I respect the decision of the jury."
The jury threw out all of the counts where "Official A" was specifically mentioned by name, but CBS 2 Legal Anaylst Irv Miller said the 18 guilty verdicts send a serious message.
But DuPage County State's Attorney Joe Birkett, who ran against Blagojevich in the 2006 race for governor, said Wednesday that "Today's conviction should prompt the Illinois General Assembly to impose an
immediate moratorium on the governor's ability to hand out any further no-bid contracts, bond fees, pension fees or other spoils of the pay-to-play system that has so defiled our state's reputation. We do not give the car keys to a serial drunk driver and we should not hand hard-earned taxpayers' money to a governor who has repeatedly abused the public trust by enriching his political friends to fatten his campaign treasury."
Birkett added, "The conviction of Tony Rezko represents a deep stain on the Democratic Party in Illinois. Democrats from top to bottom, including Barack Obama, stood idly by — and in some instances directly benefited — while the massive Blagojevich corruption scheme flourished. They rode into office promising to clean up after the George Ryan scandals and they have taken corruption in Illinois to a new low. They ought to be held accountable at the polls starting this November."
Illinois GOP Chairman Andy McKenna said, "Today's guilty verdict for Tony Rezko is another sad reminder of the broken political system in Illinois and the continuing nightmare of corruption in this state. The headlines tomorrow will reduce an already diminished faith in public service from a people - who in Illinois - face the highest gas prices in the nation, huge taxes and out-of-control spending. Democrats promised change and the people of Illinois have gotten the same old song and dance. Now that the trial has come to an end, it's time Rod Blagojevich came clean with the people of Illinois and answered the numerous questions surrounding his involvement with Tony Rezko."
Obama released a statement Wedensday night stating that he was "saddened," adding in part that "this isn't the Tony Rezko I knew, but now he has been convicted by a jury ... that once again shines a spotlight on the need for reform."
Oh Sweet Jesus. Shady Land Deals, Shady Obama donors, psycopathic Pastor's, Obama's semi-muslim heritage, Michelle Obama "I've never been prouder of my Country than I am now that my husband is winning", etc..etc..etc.. What else does Barack Hussein Obama have hidden in his closet? The Democrat Culture of Corruption Continues.....