Rezko Jury Selected: Opening Arguments Tomorrow

The jury has been selected in Tony Rezko's federal criminal trial. Opening arguments are tomorrow. Each side is expected to take an hour to present their arguments.

The Judge is not disclosing which jurors were selected, either by number or name.

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    has the judge released (none / 0) (#1)
    by Kathy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:15:42 PM EST
    sex of jurors?  Is it normal to keep that kind of thing under wraps?

    Scroll down on the link. There is some (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:27:00 PM EST
    kind of snarky description of potential jurors.  

    P.S.  This judge was formerly associated with Ken Starr's investigations of the Clintons.

    P.P.S.  Sounds like the judge did the entire selection of the jurors.


    thanks (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Kathy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:43:58 PM EST
    "a woman who makes maps"  Why don't people use the word "cartographist" anymore?

    Is the judge worried that the jurors might become tainted in some way?  Or is this just a safety/privacy issue?  As volatile as this case is, I would want my name protected if I were on the jury.

    I know I watch too much Perry Mason, but what are we expecting in the opening arguments?  No startling revelations, surely?


    Maybe cartographists are only men who make (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:47:11 PM EST
    maps ;)

    Seems like there were problems. . (none / 0) (#11)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:45:46 PM EST
    ...with jurors during Ryan's trial so maybe the judge has reason to be cautious.

    from my reading (none / 0) (#13)
    by Kathy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:47:52 PM EST
    the problems were related to jurors lying on the questionnaires, not to tampering--right?

    I think the judge is trying to (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:52:45 PM EST
    keep the names from the press, which might, for lack of anything better to do, investigate the background of each juror.

    Good point. nt (none / 0) (#22)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:56:14 PM EST
    oculus (none / 0) (#23)
    by Kathy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:56:54 PM EST
    exactly.  Isn't it up to the lawyers to find these things out before the press does?

    I was just wondering if the judge was trying to clamp down on the media so this doesn't go OJ with the ridiculousness.  As I said, if I were a juror, I'd be terrified of my name getting out.


    That's what it says in the article. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:50:49 PM EST
    I wasn't following the original trial. Not sure how not revealing information on the jurors could help stop that.

    I Thought The Term Was (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:00:24 PM EST

    they are colloquially interchangeable (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Kathy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:04:20 PM EST
    but in the "trade" a cartographer can also be someone who restores or just collects maps, while a cartographist is someone who definitely makes maps.  Trust me, if you have one in the family, you know every single boring distinction.

    Really? (none / 0) (#33)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:12:46 PM EST
    Can't find a definition for cartographist in google (define:cartographist) but if you have one in your family, you must know. The synonym for cartographer is map maker, which I would bet is the most common term these days. I doubt that the cartographer's gender came into play.

    trust me (none / 0) (#34)
    by Kathy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:37:11 PM EST
    every year at Thanksgiving, it's the cartographist who puts us all to sleep-not the turkey.  Unsurprisingly, he's not on the internet and doesn't like cell phones and says things like, "oh, my, is it an election year again?"

    Wow, this is so OT.  Sorry!  I'll stop now!


    Okay, not happy about that at all (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:37:48 PM EST
    I love how you check all this stuff out and thank you for sharing it.  I would really like for Obama's Rezko connection to remain the nonissue that in reality it is just as I would really really like the unreality of Hillary hate to also become only a memory of something irrational that once happened.

    How long do you suppose it'll take (none / 0) (#6)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:41:29 PM EST
    for conspiracy posts about driveways, bank loans and subdivisions to start appearing here?

    A long time (none / 0) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:45:04 PM EST
    since BTD and Jeralyn are both on the record acknowledging that Rezko is a nonissue.  Not sure how TChris feels about it.  If things get silly on here a ref will emerge and people could get tossed.

    Let's hope so. (none / 0) (#14)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:48:31 PM EST
    I tend to trust, then if my trust is broken (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:52:27 PM EST
    I can be legitimately angry ;)  As for keeping the masses abreast of the situation though the blog is called Talkleft the politics of crime.  Ethics and credibility seem to matter to those running this show so I trust and if funny business begins to happen to Obama during Rezko's trial I can trust this blog to point it out.

    Talkleft the politics of crime (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:54:34 PM EST
    and the Rezko trial.  Perfect synchronicity.

    Oops, look at post #7. (none / 0) (#16)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:50:34 PM EST
    I guess the answer to my question was: 1 min, 30 secs.

    Rezko *could* become an issue (none / 0) (#62)
    by diplomatic on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 12:15:45 AM EST
    I think even the owners of this site would have to acknowledge that.  If the trial were to reveal some serious new developments that could impact or reflect badly on Obama's candidancy, you can be sure it will be a real issue.

    things to watch for (none / 0) (#15)
    by DandyTIger on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:48:33 PM EST
    in this trial will be Rezko's practice of paying politicians to influence contracts and his donation practices since those could tie in with an Obama connection. If there is anything in the grey area that has happened between the two, it would be better for Obama to get it out now. And by the way, answer all those questions local Chicago reporters have been asking him for years. The tricky thing will be that this is a trial, and Obama may be in a very unfair situation of wanting to disclose something that can be explained but the legal situation may not allow that.

    Aside from that, it will be interesting to see how the press doesn't cover any of it. And if anything is covered, how it will be  low blow negative politics from the Hillary camp.

    A Chicago paper (none / 0) (#26)
    by Kathy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 02:59:59 PM EST
    published their phone number in a headline today asking Obama to give them a call.  Pretty funny, actually.

    What I don't understand is why Obama doesn't sit down with someone who likes him--Russert or Tweety comes to mind--and answer all these Rezko questions once and for all.  Not doing this just makes him look like he's hiding something.  I wish that we really were a nation that presumed innocence, but anyone who has seen any part of the criminal justice system (or read True Crime, such as myself) knows that this is simply not the case.  He just needs to get it all behind him so he can move on.


    Sitting down with a reporter (none / 0) (#44)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:55:41 PM EST
    or pundit who is not up-to-speed on the background, as investigated by Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune would not produce the types of questions these papers want Obama to answer.

    oculus (none / 0) (#55)
    by Kathy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 05:44:20 PM EST
    of course--that would be the point.  Sit down with someone you know will toss you softballs,
    say you've already been on the record and what's the big deal?

    Maybe he could do it on the View?


    I thought there was nothing here? (none / 0) (#29)
    by fiver5 on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:04:58 PM EST
    Glenn Greenwald did a detailed piece today describing the similarities between the Whitewater slurs and "Rezko" Game.  In both cases there are (were) not even allegations of any wrongdoing, yet shear repetition, intended to lead to guilt by association, is (was) the sole requirement for an effective smear.

    That is the second lawyer I've read, including Ms. Merritt, to point out that there is simply nothing here.

    Has something changed?

    There's always something "there" (none / 0) (#31)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:06:38 PM EST
    if you want there to be.

    The fact that there was nothing there... (none / 0) (#36)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:39:39 PM EST
    ...didn't stop the appointment of a special counsel and the launching of a politically motivated investigation that cost tax-payers millions. So there's always a danger, unfortunately.

    It just highlights (none / 0) (#42)
    by Marvin42 on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:50:04 PM EST
    Sen Obamas connection to a shady character, one to whom he now claims was only minimal contact. I think this whole story is a political embarrassment issue, not legal.

    Remember Sen Obama is a blank slate to a lot of people, this will start filing in more of his career, connections, etc.


    There's nothing there with regard to Obama (none / 0) (#43)
    by trishb on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:54:46 PM EST
    and his perceived connections to Rezko. There are still potential issues with Rezko and his various dealings.  At least that's what I'm getting from this. It's trying to tie this to Obama that's the problem, not the Rezko trial itself.

    nothing has changed... (none / 0) (#45)
    by magisterludi on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 04:16:34 PM EST
    Whitewater led to a fishing expedition, opened the door for Paula Jones and her Heritage Foundation lawyers, that ended in the partisan pushed impeachment of Bill Clinton.

    Rezko has legs beyond the "boneheaded" land deal. John Fund of the WSJ is pushing the Auchi angle of the Rezko affair. The RNC does not need facts to push this story and twist it into pretzels. They are very adept at insinuation and innuendo, if you haven't been paying attention for the last 15 years.

    And just because there's no special prosecutor doesn't inoculate Obama from the GOP venom machine.


    could you please explain your (ot) accusation? (none / 0) (#30)
    by Kathy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:05:09 PM EST

    I've never seen that price (none / 0) (#35)
    by Kathy on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:38:10 PM EST
    on the land.  Do you have a link?  It was my understanding that the cost was north of half a million, which considering the house next store was listed at two makes more sense.

    Yeah those figures are off... (none / 0) (#37)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:40:54 PM EST
    ..from everything I heard the Obama's paid market value for the lot.

    Not true... (none / 0) (#49)
    by Andy08 on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 04:54:21 PM EST
    the asking price for the house alone was 1.9Mil.
    ( and I think about 2.2 for the whole thing.)

    The owner (same owner) did not want to sell the two lots separately but wanted/prefered a single sale.  Both sales were done simultaneously Obama one Rezko the other.

    Obama ended up paying 1.6 Mil. for the house.
    This in itself is prett incredible given the heavy bidding there was in 2005 in the housing market for
    upscale houses especially. Most sold above asking price.

    If you could buy a house in 2005 by almost 16% less than the asking price then you deserve a monument!


    That post was deleted for (none / 0) (#48)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 04:50:10 PM EST
    objectionable language and name-calling. As to the numbers, the correct ones are these:

    A few months after Obama became a U.S. senator, he and Rezko's wife, Rita, bought adjacent pieces of property from a doctor in Chicago's Kenwood neighborhood -- a deal that has dogged Obama the last two years. The doctor sold the mansion to Obama for $1.65 million -- $300,000 below the asking price. Rezko's wife paid full price -- $625,000 -- for the adjacent vacant lot. The deals closed in June 2005. Six months later, Obama paid Rezko's wife $104,500 for a strip of her land, so he could have a bigger yard. At the time, it had been widely reported that Tony Rezko was under federal investigation. Questioned later about the timing of the Rezko deal, Obama called it "boneheaded" because people might think the Rezkos had done him a favor.

    also (none / 0) (#50)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 05:07:40 PM EST
    As I've written several times, as to Mrs. Rezko's purchase of the lot:

    She paid $625k. She got a mortgage from a bank (Mutual Harvey or something with those words in it) for $500k.

    The lot and the house were sold by a doctor and his wife. It was at their insistence that both had to be sold together.

    An unanswered question for some is where did Mrs. Rezko get the $125k down payment since Mr. Rezko's financial disclosures around that time showed them to be broke. Several weeks before, Rezko got a large loan from Auchi, which is discussed in pleadings in Rezko's court case. There is no reason to link Obama to finanicial dealings between Auchi and Rezko.

    As to the asking price, Michelle Obama submitted three sequential offers. The sellers took the third one saying it was the best they received. That happens all the time in real estate deals.

    As to Obama's purchase of the strip of the lot from Mrs. Rezko, it was months after the purchase of the house and he paid her 1/6 of what she paid for 1/6 of the lot.

    The question is not whether Obama did anything improper in buying his house. There's no indication from any government source that he did. And they have been through the records.

    If there's a question it's one of judgment. Should Obama have been engaging in a personal real estate transaction with the wife of a man whom he knew to be under federal investigation? He's called his involvement "bone-headed." So yes, it was bad judgment. Whether it calls into question his judgment in general, and whether he might other misjudgments if President, is something voters can consider.

    As to the Rezko trial, which is what I'm writing about and covering, Obama has zip to do with it. The Government alleges Rezko directed one or two others to donate to Obama's 2004 Senate campaign (because he had already given the maximum) using proceeds from Rezko's alleged illegal activities with those donors. There's not a hint of an allegation that Obama knew those donations were improper or illegal, if they were.  


    Nice summation. (none / 0) (#52)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 05:13:42 PM EST
    Why the "Rezko" reminder? (none / 0) (#53)
    by fiver5 on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 05:22:30 PM EST
    As to the Rezko trial, which is what I'm writing about and covering, Obama has zip to do with it.

    If there is no Obama connection being implied, what is there about this case that merits attention?  Surely there are scores of similar cases in federal courts across the nation.


    nice try (none / 0) (#56)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 06:36:21 PM EST
    I covered former Ill. Gov. Ryan's trial, it looks like Blajoveich will be next, Fitzgerald's office is prosecuting (Libby and others) and it's high profile. That's what I do.

    If you don't want to read about it, scroll on by.


    Also (none / 0) (#58)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 06:42:15 PM EST
    Here are some more of the high profile trials and crimes I've covered here. A few more are here.  (much more recently created category and I forget to use it a lot.)

    I'm familiar with many of the trials.. (none / 0) (#61)
    by fiver5 on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 09:27:48 PM EST
    you cover.  It's why I come here.  Thank you.  And I certainly don't have a problem with your coverage of Rezko/Obama issue/non-issue as I think you have been a very straight shooter on this.  My only point was that the only thing that I can see that makes this case significant and/or high profile is the Obama connection - unless I'm missing something.

    I apologize if it appeared I was hinting at some sort of political bias.  I don't believe there is any, and I should have made that clear from the start.


    I don't agree (none / 0) (#59)
    by Andy08 on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 07:27:44 PM EST
    with the sentence "That happens all the time in real estate deals."

    Maybe in HydePark; I don't know. But certainly not in MA for example.

    I have been following pretty closely the housing market here in MA (for reasons that are not relevant here) and
    unless there was something horribly bad with a house the upscale housing market in 2005 (especially) was booming and houses almost never (I am using this a math/probabilistic sense)got sold below asking price; and 16% is a lot lower.

    Now I am not implying anything here. I really don't know anything about the trial and even less about "the truth". And I think Sen. Obama legally (if not politically) deserves the benefit of the doubt until more is determined/known.



    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-06 (none / 0) (#39)
    by DemBillC on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:43:25 PM EST

    I second that (none / 0) (#41)
    by Marvin42 on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 03:48:34 PM EST
    When did it become illegal to make money? So now we start questioning Sen Obama about getting large book advances?

    Well the Chicago press knows about this more... (none / 0) (#63)
    by diplomatic on Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 12:23:16 AM EST
    They sure seem interested in talking to Obama and getting him to answer some questions.  So the Chicago press who has been following this story a lot longer than any of us seems to think there may be a problem there or a link with Obama.

    Perspective is in order.  Unless you are from Chicago and involved with the press or the courts there, maybe just maybe you (and me) know less than those people do and we should reserve judgement and not automatically presume to know that there's nothing there.


    please don't reprint article or blogposts here (none / 0) (#51)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 05:10:37 PM EST
    you may link and quote a short paragraph or two. And you must put your link it html format using the link button at the top of the comment box. Long urls skew this site.

    Okay. sorry. I don't know how to fix it, but you (none / 0) (#54)
    by derridog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 05:24:49 PM EST
    delete everything except the link.

    Ok, here's your comment redone (none / 0) (#57)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 06:37:51 PM EST
    Derridog writes: Taylor Marsh's post is good reading:  

    Thanks! (none / 0) (#60)
    by derridog on Wed Mar 05, 2008 at 08:24:18 PM EST