Antoin "Tony" Rezko, Chicago political operator and friend to the powerful in Illinois, says that two months prior to his conviction on fraud and bribery charges, prosecutors were pressing him to give them any information wrongdoing by Barack Obama and Governor Rod Blagojevich:
Rezko's letter, which U.S. Dictrict Judge Amy St. Eve placed into his case file Wednesday, raised questions about whether federal prosecutors were probing allegations of wrongdoing involving Obama at a time in which the first-term Illinois senator was actively campaigning for the nomination against Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York. [....]
"They are pressuring me to tell them the 'wrong' things that I supposedly know about Governor Blagojevich and Senator Obama," Rezko wrote [U.S. Dictrict Judge Amy] St. Eve in an April bid to be released on bail during his trial. "I have never been party to any wrongdoing that involved the Governor or the Senator," Rezko continued. "I will never fabricate lies about anyone else for selfish purposes. I will take what comes my way, but I will never hurt innocent people."
Rezko is not being entirely truthful. He included the Illinois governor in at least one of his meetings where there were discussions about denying state business to a company because the owner would not contribute to his campaign. The governor also agreed at this same meeting to threaten the man with a loss of business unless be paid up.
To be sure, the Chicago Tribune adds:
"There has been absolutely no suggestion at any point during the entire course of this trial that Sen. Obama was involved in any improper action or conduct involving Tony Rezko, and at no point has Sen. Obama been contacted for an interview or for any information about Tony Rezko," said Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt. "Nothing in this letter indicates anything to the contrary.".
Neither Obama nor Blagojevich have been charged with any wrongdoing.
Federal authorities have several active investigations involving Blagojevich and his administration over allegations of wrongdoing dealing with state hiring, contracts and campaign fundraising. Prosecutors alleged Rezko traded on his influence as a top adviser and fundraiser for the governor.
It's clear to me that Rezko has got "The Chicago Way" of handling oneself when pinched down pat. Keep you mouth shut and never turn on the big boys.
But who knows what the prosecutor could offer Rezko for telling stories out of school -- including some interesting tidbits on Obama.