Rezko Trial Witness Says Obama Attended Party for Auchi at Rezko's Mansion

Bump and Update: The Chicago Sun Times now has the testimony and more details, including that Michelle Obama was at the party and the date:

When Tony Rezko held a reception at his home for Iraqi-born billionaire Nadhmi Auchi on April 3, 2004, White House hopeful Barack Obama and his wife were also there, Stuart Levine testified just now at Rezko's trial.

Auchi is the man who provided Rezko a $3.5 million loan that Rezko did not disclose to the court -- resulting in his January arrest. "Mr. and Mrs. Obama were there, were they not?" Rezko lawyer Joseph Duffy asked. "Yes, sir," Levine said. Obama and his aides have said Obama has no recollection of ever meeting Auchi.

Here's the Sun-Times article about Obama meeting Auchi at the Four Seasons, which I reference below.

Original Post:

There was a surprise at the Tony Rezko trial today. The Government's star cooperating witness, Stuart Levine, said Barack Obama was at a party for Iraqi-born billionaire Nadhmi Auchi at Rezko's house. [More...]

Stuart Levine, the prosecution's star witness, said he and Obama were at a party Rezko threw at his Wilmette mansion on April 3, 2004, for Nadhmi Auchi, a controversial Iraqi-born billionaire who Rezko was trying to get to invest in a South Loop real-estate development.

Auchi, now a citizen of the United Kingdom, has faced criminal charges in Europe. He also figured in the revocation of Rezko's bond early this year after attempting to wire him more than $3 million.

... The Rezko party in 2004 was designed to induce Auchi to pour money into the South Loop investment. Obama's presence at the party was not previously known. At the time, Obama was fresh off a surprise win in the Illinois Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and was riding a crest of national publicity.

Background on Auchi and the bond violation is here.

Obama's spokesman Bill Burton previously has said Obama doesn't recall ever meeting Auchi. They, amay have briefly met as Obama was leaving a meeting at the Four Seasons hotel when he briefly stopped by a private room where Auchi was being honored at an event.

According to ABC News:

In a court hearing in Chicago, prosecutors detailed a $3.5 million wire transfer from a bank in Beirut, Lebanon that they said was moved through a series of accounts until it reached Rezko or some of his relatives who had posted property for his bond.

...According to the court filings, the money came from a company, General Mediterranean, owned by a British-based Iraqi billionaire, Nadhmi Auchi, who was convicted in France on fraud charges.

The filing says when Auchi was unable to obtain a visa to visit the United States in 2005, Rezko intervened and "asked certain Illinois government officials" to appeal the State Department's ruling.

The officials who Rezko approached are not specified. Sen. Obama had just taken office as a U.S. senator in 2005, the same year he sought Rezko's help in the purchase of his home.

Some have questioned whether Rita Rezko got the money to buy the lot next to Obama's home from Auchi.

A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France, registered the loan to Mr Obama's bagman Antoin "Tony" Rezko on May 23 2005. Mr Auchi says the loan, through the Panamanian company Fintrade Services SA, was for $3.5 million.

Three weeks later, Mr Obama bought a house on the city's South Side while Mr Rezko's wife bought the garden plot next door from the same seller on the same day, June 15.

....It is unclear how Mrs Rezko could have afforded the downpayment of $125,000 and a $500,000 mortgage for the original $625,000 purchase of the garden plot at 5050 South Greenwood Ave.

In a sworn statement a year later, Mrs Rezko said she got by on a salary of $37,000 and had $35,000 assets. Mr Rezko told a court he had "no income, negative cash flow, no liquid assets, no unencumbered assets [and] is significantly in arrears on many of his obligations."

Even if she did, it doesn't connect Auchi to Obama. Also, Auchi has plenty of positive commendations.

The biggest problem for me is that the testimony comes from Stuart Levine, whose testimony the Government has purchased with promises of leniency for his own misdeeds.

It was previously reported that details of fundraisers Rezko held at his Williammette Mansion would come up at trial. The fundraiser Rezko held for Obama was in 2003. Did the then-drug addled Levine get his dates and parties mixed up? Wouldn't surprise me.

I continue to believe and want to stress again there is no suggestion here that Obama did anything wrong or illegal in his dealings with Rezko. The issue with respect to Obama is one of judgment.

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    I may be headed straight for hell (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by angie on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:03:47 PM EST
    because my first thought was "Oh, great! I hope this story has legs!"

    Oddly, I felt the opposite (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by dianem on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:15:40 PM EST
    I still think that the only ticket we have to winning the GE is Clinton/Obama. If this story has legs, Obama won't be able to get elected dogcatcher. Odd are it won't, though. There has to be a catch. The person testifying is not the most credible witness in the world. But this will be one more nail in the coffin of our chances of winning the Presidency this fall.

    Could somebody please invent a time machine so that we can go back in time and get Edwards back?


    time machines (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by Nasarius on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:24:56 PM EST
    Go back and convince Obama not to run. I still can't figure out what legitimate reason he had to run. Clinton thinks she has the experience to be a good leader, Edwards is passionate about his causes, but Obama...I have no idea.

    We'd have had a much more interesting and substantive primary if the anti-Clinton forces had rallied around Edwards instead.


    No kidding. I could have gone for that. (none / 0) (#58)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:31:43 PM EST
    I wasn't originally a Clinton supporter. I always liked the Clintons but I was sick of the drama too.

    Ditto. I was torn, really liked Edwards (none / 0) (#77)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:45:09 PM EST
    on issues (and Elizabeth :-) and hoped to see a Clinton-Edwards ticket.  I can still dream. . . .

    Oprah Winfrey....... (none / 0) (#74)
    by Mrwirez on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:26:17 PM EST
    Pushed and Pushed and Pushed. I have said it before and will say it again. This guy, Obama, has not been vetted properly. His wife Michele pulls his strings too, and more than one person has told me she seems racist. He basically ran unopposed in Chicago. Look, Barack Obama may be a good man, but he came out of nowhere and little by little we keep finding out more and more about him....I will bet $100.00 he WILL NOT WIN IN NOVEMBER. I am already hearing here in Pittsburgh......I will not vote for that guy. What else is going to pop up between now and the fall?

    Things keep looking worse and worse for us as democrats come November. I hate to be all doom and gloom.


    BTD just might take (none / 0) (#84)
    by waldenpond on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:21:11 PM EST
    that bet.  I think the theory is that there won't be as much coverage of this as if it were Clinton.  Do you think the media will push Obama or McCain.  I think BTD is leaning Obama.  Even if the media goes after Obama, statistics hold that we voters flip parties.  It would be very unusual to go for a third Republican term.

    maybe unusual (none / 0) (#117)
    by zyx on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 09:40:02 PM EST
    but voters LIKE John McCain.  He's truly a likable guy.  

    My husband is watching his thing on C-SPAN and is riveted, and he is a good, card-carrying Republican-hater.  

    John McCain is the candidate I would "most like to have a beer with".


    I agree... (none / 0) (#121)
    by Mrwirez on Tue Apr 15, 2008 at 08:24:20 PM EST
    John McCain is walking around taking pop shots at our candidate(s) and setting the agenda and talking points. I really hope Hillary crushes BHO everywhere that is left, Obama will NOT beat McCain. Four years ago I would have taken McCain over Bush easily. Having said that, Bush is going and we need to get this over. McCain has my Dad, a union man ready to pull the lever.

    Sorry, I don't buy the Unity ticket (5.00 / 1) (#95)
    by angie on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:58:49 PM EST
    As soon as the nomination is over and people start remembering that McCain is 100 years old & gas prices go up to $4 a gallon as they are expected to by August, the Democrats are going to win whether it is Hillary or Obama, and they will not need the other one on the ticket.  I actually want Hillary to be the nominee because I not only believe she is the best candidate in the field, but that she is the best candidate we have ever had running for President in my lifetime.  (I just turned 39 on Saturday).  

    sorry, I forgot to add (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by angie on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:16:20 PM EST
    unless something really, really bad comes out about Obama's Rezko connection (ie, the "if there's more" that I posted about don't thread). And if that happens, if he is anywhere on the ticket, the Dems loose despite McSame & the economy.  Although there is nothing that can fairly be read as that damaging now, the way things have "dripped, dripped, dripped" out about Obama, it is just too big a risk to have him on the ticket, even in the VP spot.

    exactly (none / 0) (#71)
    by isaac on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:13:09 PM EST
    clinton/obama the only hope

    The MSM better ask Obama (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by bjorn on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:21:20 PM EST
    about this...it is the least they can do since if it was Clinton they would already be accusing her of crimes and calling for an independent prosecutor!

    Are you joking???? (none / 0) (#115)
    by kenosharick on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 09:19:21 PM EST
    The MSM should be getting paid by the Obama campaign. They will ignore this; they hushed up wright and helped change the story line- same with bittergate. Meanwhile one misplaced word by anyone lnked to Hillary is headlinenews for WEEKS!

    Auchi's Conviction (none / 0) (#120)
    by Athena on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 10:18:03 PM EST
    A company related to Mr Auchi, who has a conviction for corruption in France

    Auchi was convicted in France in November, 2003. Six months later, Obama goes to this party for Auchi in April, 2004  He is already the Dem nominee for the Senate.

    Why is Obama attending Rezko's party for a recently convicted financier?  Or is it that Obama is available for all things Rezko does - even with con men?  Whoops, forgot - Rezko is a con man.

    How many con men in Obama's Chicago circle?


    I don't care about whether or not (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by FlaDemFem on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:06:48 PM EST
    Obama was hanging out with Iraqi billionaires. I want to know why Obama never bothered to walk, or drive, the mile from his home to see the conditions his constituents were living in. He gave the recommendation for Rezko to get the contract, did he never do any follow-up to see how the people who voted him into office were being treated by this good friend of his?? What I want to know from Obama is why didn't he do the job he had then, and why, based partly on that job performance, should he be trusted with a much bigger one. That's all. Well, maybe not all, but it's the heart of my problem with Obama.

    This will haunt me to my grave (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by Stellaaa on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:26:25 PM EST
    why a community organizer did not care to know or did not see.  Since I found that out,  I don't believe anything about Obama.  

    Especially when it made the primetime news. (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by ineedalife on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:45:19 PM EST
    Politicians have staff that stay on top of the news in their districts. There is no way in heck Obama did not know about the condition of those buildings.

    parituclarly (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by Stellaaa on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:49:14 PM EST
    someone who is a community organizer.  

    Well, but remember... (5.00 / 2) (#72)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:17:31 PM EST
    organization, according to him, isn't his strong suit.

    I feel certain someone on his (nonexistent) staff was supposed to have kept him apprised of things like this, so, golly - how was he to know???



    The Illinois legislature only meets (5.00 / 3) (#91)
    by FlaDemFem on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:42:35 PM EST
    from Jan.3 or 8(can't remember which) until May. Not through May, until May. So, he had 8 months of the year when he was NOT busy with work in the state senate when he could have strolled down there and taken a look. That is another thing that bugs me, his claiming "years" of elected office when each "year" was only four months. No matter how you look at him, he comes up short.

    i figured you wrote the comment (none / 0) (#122)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:14:44 AM EST
    above yours, but no.

    "Mr Obama's bagman"? (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by dianem on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:08:20 PM EST
    I love British newspapers. They don't even try to pretend they're unbiased. It makes it so much easier to figure out what their spin is.

    That said, if this ends up being half as big as it looks right now, then Obama is out. He'd better have a really, really good calendar that shows that he wasn't even in the city on the night of that party. And, now that it's come up, he really needs to better explain how a campaign supporter ended up buying a useless plot of land next to his for full value when he got a big break on his beautiful house ... and, more importantly, why. The entire Rezko land deal stinks. I know, I know... there is no evidence that Obama did anything wrong. But ... it feels very wrong. And this won't help.

    He didn't keep a schedule (4.00 / 1) (#69)
    by echinopsia on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:48:32 PM EST
    He'd better have a really, really good calendar

    He left no paper trail of his years in the IL senate.

    He might be wishing he had right about now - or maybe this is why he didn't.


    It would help with the Wright issue also (5.00 / 1) (#86)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:33:12 PM EST
    I'm still amazed he doesn't have documentation for those years. Between my receipts and my computer files, you can pretty much figure out what I've done every year without a calendar . . .

    Here is the (none / 0) (#12)
    by 1jpb on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:19:17 PM EST
    the sellers are irrelevant (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:35:42 PM EST
    the issue is whether Auchi's money went to Ritz Rezko to purchase the lot.

    No one is imputing anything improper to them.


    I've read it all (none / 0) (#36)
    by dianem on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:46:34 PM EST
    But Obama + Rezko's wife + campaign contributors + land deal + less than asking price + Rezko selling at loss a year later = ??? Buying the strip of land off of Rezko was not an issue, imo. Obama paid fair market value (although one has to wonder why Rezko sold off a strip of land that made the property less developable if her goal was to develop the property).

    The big question is... will all of the above + suggestions that Auchi gave Rezko the money to buy the property push Obama over the edge from "there is no evidence he did anything wrong" to ??? I really am NOT happy about this question. If Obama ends up losing, I'd like it to be honestly, not because of typical "gotcha" politics and implications about foreigner's. I'd like him to be able to come back in a few years and run again. I think that the only major problem he has is his inexperience. Yes, he's a bit arrogant, but humble people don't generally run for President.


    I want to know (none / 0) (#40)
    by Kathy on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:53:36 PM EST
    how Mrs Rezko sold a piece of the lot on which the bank held a mortgage.  Where I come from, you have to own something before you can sell it.

    If Rezko hadn't been indicted (none / 0) (#43)
    by myiq2xu on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:57:19 PM EST
    he would still own that piece of undeveloped land.

    If he didn't buy it, Obama couldn't have bought the house (unless another buyer came along)

    Would a different buyer have sold that strip of land to Obama?

    On paper there was nothing illegal, but it sure was convenient.

    It looks like the money came from Auchi, but there is no evidence that either Auchi or Obama was aware of that fact.


    What's scary... (none / 0) (#46)
    by dianem on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:11:30 PM EST
    ...is that this is out there, and has been out there a while (I googled it) and this is the first I've heard of the Auchi-Rezko-Obama connection. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton has been hammered for providing credibility for businessmen who later contributed money to his charity. Obama is probably completely innocent of any wrongdoing here, but it's hard for me to believe that the right-wingers are simply ignoring this connection completely.

    So... why are they ignoring it? I'm just paranoid enough to wonder if they aren't just waiting to "break" this in October. I really do believe that the right thinks that Obama will be easier to beat, and that they are saving "scandals" for just before the election, when it's too late for Obama to explain and sort it all out. This would be a humdinger.


    when the media mysteriously ignores something (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by diplomatic on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:25:20 PM EST
    it makes me think that the "something" is particularly devastating to whatever agenda they are pushing. (McCain, cough, McCain) There is no legitimate reason for the MSM to not be talking about these developments regarding Obama. (they almost didn't even cover Jeremiah Wright were it not for FOX news leading the way)

    You might (none / 0) (#50)
    by waldenpond on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:24:59 PM EST
    try noquarter (Larry Johnson) or there is a site just on this issue called Rezkowatch.  I go to noquarter sometimes, they seem to get details although some of the commenters are a little extreme.

    Adjoining lot that was the Rezkos' (none / 0) (#78)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:47:52 PM EST
    recently sold but documentation seems unclear, per a look at the Rezkowatch site last week.

    I guess next in the swiftboat progression,,,, (none / 0) (#64)
    by ineedalife on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:40:04 PM EST
    will be claims that Obama really opposed the war to protect his Arab businessmen friends. You know Rove always goes after the opponent's strengths. I don't see how the timeline works out but you know they will go there.

    Swift Boating (none / 0) (#85)
    by suskin on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:28:59 PM EST
    It's not just Obama's "Arab" businessmen connections that the Swift Boaters will go after, it's Wright, Farrakhan and the NOI.

    See: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=1325. Farrakhan repeatedly showed support for Saddam and opposition to the Iraq War.

    What's troubling is not Farrakhan's opposition to the War, but his reason for it.  In a letter to Saddam Farrakhan wrote:  "Your Excellency, we who have grown up in Islam inside of America understand that the West wants to destroy you, sir, in order to make an example out of your destruction to all strong Muslim leaders. You are a visionary, and they want to destroy your vision! If they are able to bring you down, that will serve as a warning to Brother [Qadhafi] in Libya; to Brothers Hassan Turabi and [President] Omar Bashir in the Sudan; it will mean a setback for the goal of unity [among Muslims].""

    Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi, Hassan Turabi, Omar Bashir?  Scary stuff

    Obama is tied to Farrakhan not only through Wright and his support of NOI, but directly as well. http://bobmccarty.com/2008/04/02/obama-organized-farrakhans-million-man-march/

    So not only does Obama appear to have been sympathetic to people who would seem to support radical Islamists, he has taken money from people connected to Saddam Hussein, either through campaign contributions or through the real estate deal.  (And let's not kid ourselves about that).

    To top that, Obama recently acknowledged that he made a trip to Pakistan in 1981 with a Muslim friend. While it could just be coincidence, it was a time in which many a troubled educated Muslim youth from around the world, including the US, came to Pakistan to answer the jihad that had been declared to fight off the Soviet invaders in neighboring Afghanistan - if only for a 3 week vacation to take a look around.  1979 had been a pivotal year for fundamental Islamists - think the fall of Iran, Mecca and the Soviet Invasion.  It's not likely that Obama who had numerous Muslims friends in college and himself had a Muslim background didn't hear about the call or know about what was going on.  

    Obama has also indicated he made another trip to Pakistan when he was a state senator.  It would be interesting to know what that was about.

    While I personally won't jump to conclusions about Obama's loyalties, I can see there's plenty of material here for a damaging Swift Boat attack come fall.


    it's a treasure trove for Rove (none / 0) (#92)
    by diplomatic on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:45:33 PM EST
    Notice to Commenters (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:17:36 PM EST
    Do not use this thread to trash Obama. If you have something to say on the court disclosure or the substance of Levine's testimony or something to say about how it might effect the primary race if the media picks it up, go ahead.

    But do not just post comments trashing Obama's character or predicting or rooting for Obama's electoral demise.

    If that is directed to me, I'm sorry (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by angie on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:29:52 PM EST
    I was really trying to imply how much the story is going to hurt Obama in the primary race and/or GE (and how ashamed I am for thinking it because it is a total "guilt by association" story).  I didn't mean it as a "rooting for" Obama's demise.  

    not directed to you (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:37:01 PM EST
    I deleted several comments, it was directed to those who don't see their comments here or are thinking of writing one.

    With all respect (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jim J on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:34:53 PM EST
    and I really love you and your blog, Jeralyn:

    Surely when you posted this you realized the political implications and the likelihood that others would see them and comment on them.

    Again, with all respect, I think it's a little disingenuous to complain when we do exactly that.


    rules are the same as always (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:37:47 PM EST
    stay on topic, no personal attacks.

    If this is off topic delete me (none / 0) (#56)
    by waldenpond on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:31:31 PM EST
    I don't think this, on it's own, is that much of an issue (BTDs theory) but I am curious about the effect of the one degree of separation issue.  Do Rezko or Auchi have other things going on financially that would look negative.  I seem to remember Rezko was linked to some business interests in Iraq that fell through (absolutely NO connection to Obama.)  It isn't politically popular to me to be trying to make money in the war (I understand it is done), it just doesn't look good.  I wonder how any additional info impacts the issue.  The drip, drip, drip theory.

    I guess my fear is (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by madamab on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:26:21 PM EST
    that this will balloon into a Jack Abramoff problem. If Obama was at the party, that doesn't seem like a big deal to me. But what if there's more?

    Isn't anyone else a tad concerned (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Kathy on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:59:56 PM EST
    about a pattern that is emerging here, where top dems in dem strongholds seem to be getting extra scrutiny by the justice dept?

    Siegeleman in AL
    Spitzer in NY
    Blagojevich in IL ... and perhaps Obama in a "guilt by association" way.  (The Rezko trial was delayed only after Obama started picking up steam, and as others have pointed out, it seems likely to end just before the election.)

    I'm not speaking about guilt or innocence, just that, if I were a republican, and I wanted to go after dems, this is a pretty dang good list to start with.

    The first thing I thought when I heard about the atty firings was, "so this means the ones that didn't get fired agreed to go after dems?"

    I think Obama is doing a pretty good job of shooting himself in the foot lately, and I think Clinton will likely get the nomination, but as for the dream ticket stuff, it seems to me that a lot of prominent IL dems have big targets on their backs right now.


    See the Georgia Thompson case (none / 0) (#97)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:06:29 PM EST
    in Wisconsin, not a top leader in the state but a state worker/manager who was made a sacrificial lamb to take down the Dem governor here.  He is still in place, and she is back in her job now -- but only after serving seven months in prison, losing her home, and much more after a conviction that finally was tossed out by an appeals court.  It said that it never had seen such a flimsy case and, in a rare order, freed her within the hour.

    The case was brought by one of our federal attorneys, Stephen Biskupic, who had been on the Gonzalez/Bush ouster list but with this case was suddenly removed from the list.  He's still in place, too.

    Btw, this case got good coverage by the end at TPM, before Marshall was kidnapped by unity ponies and replaced by someone who could care less about investigative reporting on judicial travesties.


    Wow, good point (none / 0) (#103)
    by suskin on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:21:44 PM EST
    You may be on to something.  It seems like ancient history now, but remember the political DA firings? That may be exactly what is going on, the GOP is using its prosecutorial powers to affect the election.  And we naively thought we were a democracy. Scary thought.

    BTW, if you haven't seen this - it talks about Obama's ties to Auchi  - http://talismangate.blogspot.com/2008/02/obamas-saddam-connection.html


    that's my thought too (none / 0) (#37)
    by angie on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:49:28 PM EST
    and why I say it is a "guilt by association" thing that is kind of unfair (yes, I know, second time in one day I'm defending Obama) -- at least from what we know so far. However, a lot of people will assume there "is more" without proof. I have to admit, the whole Rezko connection never really passed the smell test for me, so it probably isn't a big leap for most people either.  

    The real Auchi problem (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by davnee on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:27:40 PM EST
    is the funneling of money to Rezko's wife to purchase Obama's yard for him.  If that turns out to be true, that Saddam Hussein's bagman indirectly financed Obama's mansion, Obama's doner than done.  It doesn't matter if Obama was just being a bonehead about the house purchase and not being deliberately corrupt.  

    Now, Obama allegedly meeting Auchi at a party and subsequently forgetting it/covering it up doesn't prove anything about the house story.  But it does give the press and the public cover to keep asking questions about Auchi and keep digging into the connection between the two.  At best it is a drip, drip sort of whisper in the background, at worst it is the end of the road.

    Bingo! (none / 0) (#101)
    by white n az on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:19:36 PM EST
    This is a big problem for Obama...that appears to be the case here...Auchi's money buying adjacent property. This deal doesn't pass the smell test anymore and there's nothing Obama can do or say because he's already admitted the boneheaded thing and this just makes it more boneheaded.

    It won't matter (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by waldenpond on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:35:04 PM EST
    I doubt it will get much exposure.  Obama will do another sit down with the reporters and it will be explained.  The media will say there is no 'there' there and tear in to Clinton.  It just won't matter.

    BTD has gotten to me.

    Resist the aura, the thrall of BTD -- (5.00 / 4) (#102)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:20:40 PM EST
    he's just another pony.  A smarter one, but that's part of the magnetic effect to make you forget who you are and where you were before the Big Tent dropped down on you and drove a tent pole through your heart like a stake, draining your good red=hot all-American blood and changing you into a cold-blooded virtual vampire, too, a political cynic who would suck all the fun from a life of fantasies of a bowling, beer-drinking, belly-laughing, gun-toting woman in the White House who would think about policies as much as about politics -- and thus would scare the he** out of the good ol' boyz of the Senate, who would have to hide their I Heart Obama pillows and put their Clinton nutcrackers away, next to their Ron Reagan fan club secret decoder rings and flicks.

    This was a public service message brought to you by BLUBBA, the Big Liberal Ugly Blog Boyz Association, trying to lure you back because the advertisers are beginning to notice. . . .


    you outdid yourself now Cream (none / 0) (#106)
    by diplomatic on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:26:39 PM EST
    The resistance lives!  Just say no to BTD mind-control.

    these confines are friendly to BTD (none / 0) (#113)
    by white n az on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 09:01:47 PM EST
    were he to post on say DK or MLW, the people with knives would be after him faster than you can say bitter small town mid-westerners clinging to their guns and bibles.

    BTD is a fierce and effective advocate but one would expect a lawyer to be all that...like Jeralyn.

    But...that doesn't mean that you have to agree with them, only that you have to be able to defend your arguments when you disagree with them.


    too late. on vacation and catching up. (none / 0) (#125)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:27:29 AM EST
    I was just going to ask in the open thread (none / 0) (#126)
    by Teresa on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 02:44:25 PM EST
    about you. I forgot you were going on vacation and I was worried about you.

    not to worry. (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by oculus on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 02:49:17 PM EST
    although my flat mate is monitoring my excursions to the internet cafes!

    BTD theory is flawed b/c (none / 0) (#89)
    by Andy08 on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:39:16 PM EST
    if Obama is the nominee; as soon as the GE starts the media will rip him apart in favor of the the Maverick and media darling.

    The argument that Obama is  a better nominee  b/c at this point in time he "seems like teflon" with the media treats him like a rose is
    a red herring and imo a very poor way to judge who should be the democratic candidate to the US Presidency.


    we get it! You hang on every word from BTD (none / 0) (#93)
    by diplomatic on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:47:02 PM EST
    But it's just one guy's opinion...

    But its a good opinion imo n/t (none / 0) (#110)
    by Marvin42 on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:32:10 PM EST
    I think it's one of his worst and most misguided (none / 0) (#112)
    by diplomatic on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:41:03 PM EST
    As With Everything Rezko (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by BDB on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:37:00 PM EST
    I can never tell if this is one piece of a very large problem or just a particularly convulted case of bad judgement, where each piece sounds signicant but doesn't really add anything to the original picture.

    I think (5.00 / 3) (#32)
    by cmugirl on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:42:28 PM EST
    This will go to his judgment, and let's be frank, a term used more towards Hillary, his honesty. He never met Auchi, now someone says they were at a party together (still don't know if they met or not).

    But, he only did 5 billable hours of work for Rezko - now we know their relationship was more than that.

    He never heard Wright say any of the bad things - then maybe he was in the church when some of those things were said.

    His campaign never contacted the Canadian government about NAFTA - then we find out they DID contact the Canadian government.

    He speaks one way about Iraq, then his advisor says he absolutely won't govern according to what he promises on the campaign trail.

    I know politicians all say things they don't mean, but even Obama is showing tendencies of looking like a regular old politician.


    Sorry, Jeralyn didn't mean to offend (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by athyrio on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:39:39 PM EST
    you or anyone, but I am worried that we will lose this election, please accept my apology....

    Me too (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by cmugirl on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:43:42 PM EST
    shouldn't have tried to be funny and quote "The Jetsons". Won't do it again.

    Does it really matter that no wrong doing is (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by Radix on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 09:51:43 PM EST
    suggested? If I'm not mistaken, Bill and Hillary were cleared of any wrong doing in the first Whitewater investigation. This fact didn't stop the Republicans from launching a second investigation.  

    Obama goes to a church (4.50 / 2) (#19)
    by myiq2xu on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:29:35 PM EST
    but doesn't hear the preacher.  He goes to a rally in San Francisco but doesn't hear Randi Rhodes when she "warms up" the crowd for him.

    He goes to parties but doesn't meet the people who are there.

    See a pattern?

    Jeralyn:  The tell on this is Obama's statement that he "doesn't recall" meeting Auchi.  Even if it's proven he did, he can claim he wasn't lying.

    Very Naive (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by BarnBabe on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:54:44 PM EST
    It does go to judgment. With all the education and intelligence BHO possesses, I think he is very naive. In fact I am beginning to suspect that he really did not realize Rezko was using him. As in, Hey, I know a friendly Senator who is my pal. I say this because I can not believe that he would jeopardize his whole career and future being friends with this guy. And then denying it when it is brought to his attention. Oooops, too late. And because he thought Rezko was his friend, he never even bothered to check those properties in this district. Having said that, it does go to judgment as his gut feeling seems to be like looking a Russian devil in the eye and pronouncing him honest.

    You can't be naive and you need good judgment or else you can not successfully run the country. And you need a better mentor than Joe L in the Senate. Otherwise you are a Republican in Democratic clothes.


    You mean he mighta been bamboozled (none / 0) (#79)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:53:30 PM EST
    and hoodwinked?  Okey-dokey, delete me. . . .

    But I agree that there will not be intent to do something wrong shown here; Obama is not dumb.  He does seem to have been oddly trusting of others helping him -- Rezko, the Illinois senate leader, now U.S. Senate leaders -- for their own purposes.


    Why did Levine testify that Obama... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Maria Garcia on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:12:29 PM EST
    ...was at that party? Do you know what question he was asked that would have prompted that response. From reading the link, I don't quite get the relevance.

    think they were (none / 0) (#10)
    by TruthMatters on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:17:19 PM EST
    going through a list of people from what I said.

    so they asked about the governor the lt. governor, and what not.

    more importantly to me  WHO ELSE, was there? if this was such a bad thing to attend wouldn't we want to know every other politician there?

    apparently it is ok for everyone else, but obama.

    also I went to a fundraiser for my congressmen once, I have NO clue who was there, but technically if someone iraqi billionare was there, well I now attended a party with them too.

    guilt by association is what this will be.  


    This association could be a major problem (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by dianem on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:30:59 PM EST
    If Obama actually went to a party in honor of an Iraqi who was purported to have worked for Hussein in order to help one of his major campaign contributor's raise money for a land deal, this would be huge. Throw in allegations that this billionaire provided the money for Rezko's wife to make the land deal that enabled Obama to buy his million-plus dollar home, and this is bigger than every scandal to hit Obama so far combined.

    IF... IF... IF it's true. Or, for that matter, if enough people talk about it and enough people THINK it's true. It's too soon to know right now. The media are scurrying about trying to get some kind of verification right now. This isn't the Clinton years when every rumor could be reported as fact without any vetting (although if this story were about Clinton it would be a headline on Fox by now).  


    I think we can safely assume (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by miriam on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:49:42 PM EST
    this will not qualify as a "Breaking Story" on CNN and MSNBC unless the witness testifies that also invited was Paris Hilton.  

    Best comment yet (none / 0) (#80)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:55:18 PM EST
    but the night is young and who-knows-what-next?

    She's still news?! Oy . . . n/t (none / 0) (#87)
    by nycstray on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:35:55 PM EST
    according to int. herald trib., her (none / 0) (#123)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:19:07 AM EST
    parents attended the recent wedding of ivana trump at the trump estate in fl.  

    It wasn't a fundraiser (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by myiq2xu on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:32:50 PM EST
    It was a party for Auchi.

    How do you go to a party and not meet the guest of honor?


    Good point (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by cmugirl on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:35:05 PM EST
    Especially since Rezko and Obama had a relationship (I was going to say "close relationship" but we don't know how close it was, but we do know it was more than 5 billable hours)

    The Only Reason to Invite Obama (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by BDB on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:39:13 PM EST
    was to introduce him to Audchi.  Maybe not for any nefarious purpose, but Rezko would want to look important and impress his guest of honor.  Obama - and the other politicians - were one way to do that.  

    Two VIP's (none / 0) (#34)
    by myiq2xu on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:44:13 PM EST
    and both of them friends of Rezko.  Of course they were introduced.

    But that doesn't mean Obama did anything illegal.


    Obama dropped in on Rezko meetings (none / 0) (#42)
    by Kathy on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:56:10 PM EST
    where he shook hands and such.  He wrote letters on Rezko's behalf.  Maybe that's why Obama attended the party, too-to give Rezko support.

    Bad judgment (none / 0) (#44)
    by miriam on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:57:44 PM EST
    does not always constitute something illegal. But too many instances of bad judgment could certainly constitue a pattern.

    Obama: "I barely knew Rezko" (4.50 / 2) (#18)
    by Josey on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:28:13 PM EST
    but that was Obama a year ago.
    After half the primaries were over we learned Rezko was on Obama's 2004 campaign Finance Committee - and toured Obama's home with him before he bought it.
    There's a reason Obama began calling for Hillary to withdraw - wayyyy back in February as Rezko's trial was gearing up.

    Obama called Rezko a friend (none / 0) (#98)
    by white n az on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:10:29 PM EST
    and if you have a link to "I barely knew Rezko" comment by Obama a year ago, I would love to see a link to it.

    No offense, but (none / 0) (#14)
    by cmugirl on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:22:38 PM EST
    I think you being at a fundraiser with someone of questionable character (as Mr. Auchi is), is a little different than someone who just won the Illinois Democratic primary for US Senate, who as the post says, was riding a wave of national press coverage.

    And I agree - they probably want to know all the "important" people that were there.


    Difference is (none / 0) (#83)
    by Andy08 on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:15:20 PM EST
    you are not a senator and you are not running for the highest office in the land.

    I don't get the relevance (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:15:20 PM EST
    either yet, I'll have to read further accounts.

    The usual suspects (none / 0) (#54)
    by DaleA on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:28:12 PM EST
    have gone into this is great detail at MYDD, Taylor Marsh and NoQuarter. The general outline is that Auichi had ties to Saddam Huessen and the Iraqi government. What they amounted to exactly remains in dispute. The idea being pushed is that Saddam used Auichi as a front man to get embargoed Iraqi oil and money into the West. That Auichi then used a network of expatriate Arabs like Rezko to move the money into countries and influence politicians. It is all very complicated, almost requires a degree in forensic accounting, to follow.

    In sum, with such evidence and experts (none / 0) (#81)
    by Cream City on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:57:19 PM EST
    still to come, maybe still at work -- this trial is going to go on for a while, perhaps into the fall and even early November. . . .  Bad timing is this is the Dem nominee.

    I followed the Sun (none / 0) (#94)
    by MichaelGale on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:53:47 PM EST
    references and laundering the Oil for Food money.

    Why didn't TSA or NSA know about this man? He was with Saddam for years according to the article.

    And who allowed Auichi to return after he was indicted in France?  Someone pulled some strings and the article says it was Chicago politicians.  who did they know and who did it?

    I'm not thinking Obama. He would never do something like that and run for president.  I am not for him but I don't think he is that judgment challenged.

    There are a couple of more articles on this if you follow the Sun references


    sure would like to see the letters (none / 0) (#124)
    by oculus on Thu Apr 17, 2008 at 05:21:11 AM EST
    written on behalf of auchi by chicago politians.

    To be fair to Auchi (none / 0) (#35)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:45:54 PM EST
    As I posted here, this comes from a pleading filed by Rezko's lawyers:

    While the government attempts to besmirch Mr. Auchi's character, he is one of Britain's wealthiest men, has been a guest at the White House and met with two of the last three
    presidents, was Co-Chair of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, is President of the
    Anglo-Arab Organisation, and has received numerous awards and honorary positions from heads
    of state, including Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II, and King Abdullah II of Jordan. While
    Mr. Auchi is apparently no longer welcome in the United States, he apparently is welcome to
    travel to France, where he maintains a home, and every other country in the world,
    notwithstanding a criminal conviction in France, for which he was tried in absentia and received
    a suspended sentence.

    very, very strict libel laws (none / 0) (#45)
    by Kathy on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 04:58:08 PM EST
    in the UK.  Incredibly strict.

    Two of the last three Presidents? (none / 0) (#82)
    by Teresa on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:08:08 PM EST
    Which two? Bush and Bush or Clinton and Bush?

    Obama's judgement strikes again (none / 0) (#48)
    by diplomatic on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:14:15 PM EST

    Jeralyn (none / 0) (#65)
    by Andy08 on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:43:28 PM EST
    what did you mean here?

    Also, Auchi has plenty of positive commendations.

    Just what I said (none / 0) (#67)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:46:11 PM EST
    Some are making him out to be a negative figure because of a case in France. I'm pointing out the awards he has won. I got them from a pleading by Rezko's lawyers -- it was in a footnote, I've posted it on TalkLeft before too. Just because the guy was charged or even convicted of a crime doesn't make him a bad person.

    But didn't (none / 0) (#68)
    by Andy08 on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 05:47:22 PM EST
    he have some dealings with Sadam Hussein?

    I would like to observe (none / 0) (#75)
    by digdugboy on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:34:47 PM EST
    that the wish for Obama's candidacy to implode over this matter is quite reminiscent of the glee surrounding the Kenneth Starr investigation of the Clintons.

    And the hatred by Obama supporters (5.00 / 3) (#76)
    by abfabdem on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 06:38:54 PM EST
    directed toward Hillary is reminiscent of the way the right wing treated the Clintons when Bill was President.

    It isn't so much that people are wishing (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:30:07 PM EST
    for Obama's candidacy to implode over this particular issue, it is that most of us believe it is going to implode and would prefer that it happen before he is anointed the nominee of the Democratic Party.  You know, before it is too late to do anything about it.

    There is also a fair amount of frustration at watching the media have apoplexy over things like whether the Clinton campaign tipped a waitress in an Iowa diner, but failing to twitch an eyebrow over anything that might bear looking into where Mr. Obama is concerned.

    It may well be that there is nothing nefarious or underhanded or illegal or negative in Obama's relationship with Tony Rezko, but since Obama has not been able to bring himself to be completely forthcoming about Rezko, people will continue to have questions.

    I know, as does every other Hillary supporter I know, including many here, that the GOP will give Obama Ken Starr-like treatment if he is the nominee; I can already imagine the ads about whether we want someone with ties to people who had ties to Saddam to have an "in" at the WH.  And you know they will go there - that will be too tempting for John McCain to pass up.

    All that being said, if these latest polls continue to hold, or worsen for Obama, I don't see how there continues to be an argument for his electability over Hillary's.


    keep in mind (none / 0) (#100)
    by white n az on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:17:22 PM EST
    that not everyone who supports Hillary is wishing, celebrating or gleeful about this story.

    Newsweek reports (none / 0) (#88)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:36:33 PM EST
    Obama's spokesman said neither Michelle nor Barack Obama recall being at the party.

    Of course (none / 0) (#90)
    by Andy08 on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 07:41:26 PM EST
    It was less than 4 years ago (none / 0) (#104)
    by OxyCon on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:26:08 PM EST
    If Obama gets away with this one, it will be the most insidious use of convenient memory ever used.

    Sorry, but when I hear this, all I can think (none / 0) (#111)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:32:59 PM EST
    of is Alberto Gonzales' carousel of responses to what he did and didn't know:  he didn't recall, he wasn't aware of ever knowing, he didn't recall being aware, and so on.

    Color me skeptical.


    The superdelegates (none / 0) (#105)
    by talkingpoint on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:26:18 PM EST
     need to step up to the forefront and endorse Clnton, becuse if they don't we are doom in November. Obama definately cannot win.

    superdelegates shouldn't rush for anyone (none / 0) (#119)
    by andrys on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 09:55:37 PM EST
    I feel the same way that I did when they were trying to get Clinton out.

      Superdelegates should not act in a rush -- it would be premature to do anything like that.  Wait and see what develops in connection with either of them, positive as well as negative.  Why push out anyone at this point?   Decisions can be made in June with a lot more information...

      My own bias has been toward a Clinton/Obama ticket to maximize Democrat votes.  I've not thought Obama had real-world experience with regard to tough politics (and his actually serious statements in San Francisco about his foreign policy experience with 'people' at the ages of 6-10 has worried me more than the much-discussed other stuff), and I certainly haven't liked his divisive ways trying to push Clinton out before Ohio and Texas voted, when the polls were showing her stronger.  

      But things could be looking better for us as a united party than they do now.


    Here in Montana our one (none / 0) (#107)
    by athyrio on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:28:42 PM EST
    uncommitted superdelegate just committed for Hillary...the swing has started....

    sorry apparently he wasnt a (none / 0) (#116)
    by athyrio on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 09:21:42 PM EST
    super delegate but a prominate political person in Montana here is the link

    This might be fuzzy, (none / 0) (#108)
    by Sunshine on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 08:28:53 PM EST
    Obama gave up a very lucrative job to become a community organizer and before long he is dealing in million dollar real estate deals?

    Ruh Roh... (none / 0) (#114)
    by white n az on Mon Apr 14, 2008 at 09:09:30 PM EST
    Apparently there is a link between the load from Auchi to Rezko and the house that Obama bought...

    See this L I N K

    This is a bad story...

    Auchi/Obama (none / 0) (#128)
    by Mary OK on Fri Apr 18, 2008 at 11:27:40 PM EST
    The LA times reported quite a while ago that Auchi delivered $3.5MM to Rezko that arrived around the time Rezko's wife needed money for that lot she bought.  I did not totally understand this story then, but I do now.  I guess Obama said he does not recall meeing Auchi - but Michael Sneed in the Sun Times this week said that there are reports that Obama gave toasts to Auchi during the reception that Blago did not attend.

    My husband told me today that Paul Green - on the Spike O'dell show - said that there is no doubt that the Rezko trial will create problems for Obama - based on Grren's attendance at the trial this week.  The prosecution is not intersted in Obama - they are intersted in the Governor.

    I am not a Republican - but I am so disappointed that the democratic and Media leadership has rallied around Obama - with his total lack of experience.  They decided to choose sides of parts of the Democratic constituencies over others.   This was dangerous for them all along and they needed to fight to staty neutral.

    I will not feel sorry if the Democratic Party goes down to defeat this year.  I feel they have taken a major part of their constituency for granted.  I don't know how anyone can look at that polygamy sect in TX and not understand that there are compelling reasons to vote for a woman as much as there is a need to vote for an African american.

    I am volunteering to make calls for Hillary this weekend.  Please try to do the same.