Rezko Lawyer Gets His Shot at Government Star Witness

Tony Rezko's lawyer Joe Duffy seems to be off to a great start in cross-examining the Government's star witness, Stuart Levine, according to the Chicago Tribune live-blog.

Read through the whole day's events. Most of it addressed Levine's copious drug use and poor memory.

Levine has been on the stand for more than a week testifying for the Government, detailing his life of crime and bringing Tony Rezko and other former Levine associates into it whenever he could.

After all, he's singing for his supper. And so long as he stays on tune, even if Rezko is acquitted, Levine gets one heck of a deal: Check out his plea agreement (pdf). It might be the longest one I've ever seen, 58 pages, particularly as to the factual recitation of the crimes Levine admits, but more significant are the numbers. Levine's guideline range before his snitch bonus is a level 43, category I, or mandatory life in prison, no parole -- there is no parole in the federal system. On a life sentence, the only way you come out is in a pine box.

The plea agreement provides for a Rule 11[c][1][c] agreed-upon sentence of 67 months. (See paragraph 22 on page 53.) Should the judge not agree and want to give him more, he gets to take his plea back.

From life in prison to 67 months, and all he has to do is tell the truth -- the Government's truth -- that Rezko was a crook too.

Levine sounds like a disgusting, pathetic, broken man. The Government, in propping him up to bring down Rezko, is stooping to his morally bankrupt level.

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    Whoa! (none / 0) (#1)
    by Gabriele Droz on Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 06:23:38 PM EST
    Thanks for keeping us informed.  So what do you see happening next, if anything?

    Now, I'm No Criminal Attorney (none / 0) (#2)
    by The Maven on Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 07:29:45 PM EST
    but it sure seems like this also serves to point out how messed up the sentencing guidelines are, that mail/wire fraud and money laundering -- however heinous they might be, physical violence isn't part of these -- would amount to a life sentence (and as you mention, without any parole).  Granted, the offense levels for the mail fraud have been significantly increased because of the dollar amounts, as well as the involvement of public officials and the number of participants, but still . . .

    And separately, is the Government's case otherwise so weak that a prosecutor of Patrick Fitzgerald's stature (in the eyes of what remains of the progressive blogosphere, that is) would be so willing to enter into a plea agreement such as this?

    I think Fitz has his eyes on (none / 0) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 08:10:46 PM EST
    bigger fish, like the Governor.

    I wonder (none / 0) (#4)
    by Kathy on Mon Apr 07, 2008 at 09:34:21 PM EST
    If anyone else thinks this smacks of a politically timed prosecution, like Siegelman (who was also felled by a former ally turned drug addict who got a sweetheart deal)

    Not that I think Chicago politics is free of corruption by any stretch, but it's an awfully big coincidence that these big dem machines are being taken down.

    As for Fitz, I just think he's doing his job.


    number of comments (none / 0) (#5)
    by diogenes on Tue Apr 08, 2008 at 10:47:49 PM EST
    Does the small number of comments here mean that everyone agrees that the Rezko prosecution (and it's extension to Obama) is bogus?

    Unless something weird happens (none / 0) (#6)
    by RTwilight on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:50:49 AM EST