Government Undecided on Whether Rezko Will Be a Trial Witness

The Judge overseeing the Tony Rezko case has granted his request for a quick sentencing date. He'll be sentenced January 6. As I wrote the other day, this says to me Rezko didn't get what he was hoping for from Fitzgerald for his cooperation. Fitz went out of his way in the Blagojevich complaint to mention numerous times that Rezko's information differed in key respects from that of other witnesses. That makes him less valuable as a witness.

The Chicago Tribune reports today that it's unclear whether the Government will call Rezko as a witness against Blagojevich. [More..]

The government isn't satisfied Rezko is giving a complete version of events, an FBI affidavit filed in the case said, "but in broad terms Rezko's account incriminates Rod Blagojevich in a pay-to-play criminal scheme."

Before the disclosures of stunning undercover recordings of the governor this week, Rezko's cooperation seemed to be the best route for prosecutors to get an insider's view of corruption in the administration.

But as prosecutors secretly recorded the governor in the last two months, negotiations with Rezko seemed to take a back seat. Then he recently asked a judge to schedule his sentencing date, possibly signaling that he would not cooperate with investigators in the federal probe.

Just more evidence for the proposition that when you cooperate with the Government and agree to tell "the truth", it's the Government's version of "the truth" that controls, not your's.

Whether Rezko ever becomes a government witness remains unclear, however. He has made no final deal with prosecutors. A judge granted Rezko's request to be sentenced in January. Typically, sentencing for those cooperating with the government is delayed until after they have completed their assistance. In Rezko's case, that could include testifying against Blagojevich at trial.

Of course, Rezko isn't complaining publicly. His reps say he's tired of being in the detention facility, which undoubtedly is true, but I don't think it's the whole story.

His lawyers have blamed Rezko's push to be sentenced on his being held in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal Loop jail where he has been kept in a small cell since his conviction.

One of Rezko's sons, Adam, said that his father's condition was deteriorating and disputed a contention by prison officials that Rezko receives normal privileges. "Our main concern is he has not had one breath of fresh air since June, and he's not seen one ray of sunlight," Rezko's son said.

Rezko still has another trial to face:

Rezko is set to go to trial early next year on unrelated charges that he swindled the General Electric Capital Corp. out of $10 million in the sale of a group of pizza restaurants.

I'll also guess his cooperation wasn't valuable enough ot get the Government to make that case go away. Bottom line: The marriage between the Government and Rezko hasn't worked out to the satisfaction of either one of them.

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  • Display: Sort:
    I bet Barack Obama would breathe (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 01:37:31 PM EST
    a huge sigh of relief if Rezko's cooperation with the feds was done.

    What about Rule 35(b)??? (none / 0) (#1)
    by befuddledvoter on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 01:32:41 PM EST
    That allows the government, based on substantial assistance,  to seek a reduction in sentencing after the defendant has already been sentenced. I think Rezko's true sentence will not be known in January, if ever.  I predict his cooperation is ongoing and this is some dog and pony show.

    i would bet the (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 03:46:52 PM EST
    recordings made any other witness testimony less valuable. if you have it on tape, and it's pretty compelling, why confuse the jury with a tainted witness?

    Rez hopes for pardon in a few years? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Salo on Thu Dec 11, 2008 at 08:15:09 PM EST