Rezko: Defense Rests, No Witnesses Called

The testimony in the trial on Tony Rezko has ended. The defense did not call any witnesses. The prosecution's case lasted 9 weeks. Closing arguments are next week.

"We do not believe the government has met [its] burden proving the charges against Mr. Rezko, plain and simple," Rezko's attorney, Joseph Duffy, said in explaining his tactical decision not to mount a defense case.

Probably a smart move. It's also a typical one, so it shouldn't be viewed as them not having a defense. It's a statement there was no need to put on a defense since the prosecution didn't prove its case.

The Judge has taken under advisement several motions for judgment of acquittal. The charges are multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, attempted extortion, aiding and abetting bribery and money laundering.

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    Jeralyn (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by MO Blue on Wed May 07, 2008 at 09:30:13 PM EST
    What is your opinion? Did they meet the burden of proof or not? Also, are their any other charges against Rezko after this or is this it?

    It seems to me (none / 0) (#3)
    by Steve M on Wed May 07, 2008 at 09:37:30 PM EST
    as a casual follower of the trial, that a not guilty verdict is entirely possible.  Then again, Fitz tends to get his man.

    On all counts? (none / 0) (#7)
    by OrangeFur on Wed May 07, 2008 at 09:58:30 PM EST
    Well (none / 0) (#8)
    by Steve M on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:03:05 PM EST
    I'm not sure I could give you a count by count rundown, but an awful lot of this seems to rest on Levine's testimony, and it's entirely possible that the jury may simply choose not to believe him.

    It's a mystery to me, actually, why Rezko is the alleged bad guy and not Levine.  I mean, Rezko is alleged to be a political fixer, I agree that's bad.  But Levine was one of the actual public officials who took bribes from Rezko to act corruptly!  I know there are supposedly bigger fish to fry, but it seems very strange to me.


    Didn't Levine already plead guilty? (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:06:49 PM EST
    Yes (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Wed May 07, 2008 at 11:20:56 PM EST
    He has a deal, or is hoping for one no doubt.
    Levine sat on the two state boards with powers over such matters. But prosecutors say Rezko, who raised huge sums for Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign, used the influence he gained to become the power behind boards.

    Rezko insists he took part in no such schemes. Blagojevich has not been charged with any crimes.

    But Levine has pleaded guilty and taken the stand for the government in hopes of a lenient 51/2-year prison sentence.

    Link (none / 0) (#28)
    by squeaky on Wed May 07, 2008 at 11:21:27 PM EST
    The City of Chicago (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Stellaaa on Wed May 07, 2008 at 09:34:46 PM EST
    HUD or the IRS should press charges on the affordable housing projects.  30 projects defaulted and millions of public funds lost and no one prosecutes?   That would be disgusting.  HUD will fine a Housing Authority for underestimating a Section 8 tenants income and publish the finding on a national web page.  This guy basically took 5-6 million in funds that should have been in reserve for the projects.  

    I'll opine the statute of limitations has (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:05:11 PM EST
    probably run on that.

    regardless of the trial (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Josey on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:08:36 PM EST
    a sitting U.S. senator entered into a real estate transaction with a man he knew was under federal investigation.

    So, Why Hasn't Anything Been Done About (none / 0) (#15)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:17:56 PM EST
    this?  Is there some action that could be taken against obama?

    Don't worry, if he gets the nomination (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by FlaDemFem on Wed May 07, 2008 at 11:09:43 PM EST
    the GOP will spread the pictures of those housing units all over the news, along with the facts of Rezko's fraud and Obama's letter of recommendation that helped him get the funding. There's your action..sigh

    Rezko Trial (5.00 / 4) (#14)
    by Pat Johnson on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:15:34 PM EST
    No matter the verdict, the trial has exposed a band of sleazebuckets intent on making their millions off the backs of others through bribery, intimidation and blackmail.  They should have put some of the people living in Obama's district who went without heat because the grant monies were being used to bribe other officials.  I am sure they would say the case had been proven to their liking.  

    I wonder if any of that grant money (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by FlaDemFem on Wed May 07, 2008 at 11:16:25 PM EST
    went into Obama's campaign funds. And people should start asking why Obama didn't go the mile from his house to see the housing he had recommended Rezko for. Those were his constituents and he sold them out. This should be mentioned by the Democrats. The GOP will surely mention it in the GE, if Obama gets the nomination, and that will make the Dems look like total fools for taking Obama at his own valuation. Of course, if it does happen, I am going to look up as many references on the web, newspapers and blogs, as I can manage and send a copy of each and every one of them to the DNC. In a big envelope with WHY DIDN'T YOU KNOW THIS??? printed on it in big red letters.

    Obviously you weren' t paying close (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by oculus on Wed May 07, 2008 at 11:26:38 PM EST
    enought attention to Obama's NC speech last night.  He was walking past those shuttered steel mills.

    note (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Salo on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:34:44 PM EST
    remember it is a trial and not a fishing expedition. And the wide ranging brief and behaviour of Star in the 1990s was highly unusual for a prosecutor. He's not an inquisitor general.

    Trials can be perfuctory and limited in scope.

    Starr was a hack (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Deadalus on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:41:39 PM EST
    Fitz is not.  The fact that that ultimate partisan BS'er is now a judge is such a scam.

    he's about to walk. (none / 0) (#4)
    by Salo on Wed May 07, 2008 at 09:50:09 PM EST
    anyone seen the composition of the Jury?

    No, what is it? (none / 0) (#6)
    by OrangeFur on Wed May 07, 2008 at 09:58:12 PM EST
    I ask the questions (none / 0) (#17)
    by Salo on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:30:17 PM EST
    If He Is Found Guilty, Will Rezko Name Names? (none / 0) (#5)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed May 07, 2008 at 09:53:19 PM EST

    name names AFTER it could help (none / 0) (#12)
    by TruthMatters on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:07:38 PM EST
    him in any way? probably not no.

    if he had names he would have named them before so that the prosecution would have changed or lowered the charges against him


    If He Named Names, It Could Help With His (none / 0) (#16)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:19:00 PM EST
    sentencing...deals are made every day.

    Mr. Obama is a really fortunate (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:05:59 PM EST
    person Mr. Rezko's counsel decided not to have him testify in his own defense.

    Fortunate? (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:55:31 PM EST
    It was never a possibility as far as I understood. Did you miss this post by TL?  

    Her opinion, contrary to former prosecutor Fardon's, in brief,

    Sorry, there is not a snowball's chance in h*ll Obama will testify -- whether Rezko wants him to or not.

    Not Obama, Rezko. I think he (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:58:51 PM EST
    is a b.s. artist who his attorney would not be able to keep in line on the stand.

    Oh (none / 0) (#26)
    by squeaky on Wed May 07, 2008 at 11:18:51 PM EST
    I misunderstood. IANAL, but I would think that putting Rezko on the stand as a defense witness would be bad.

    Smart move indeed (none / 0) (#19)
    by beyondalldoubt on Wed May 07, 2008 at 10:40:26 PM EST
    That is a smart move. I thought that should of been done in the Scott Peterson trial in fact.

    Destroy the prosecution's witnesses on cross during their case, do not put up a case of your own, but then hammer home "BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT" to that jury all day long in closing arguments as well in opening statements.

    Even if you can get that in during cross, its a good thing.

    Geragos didn't do that, but do you know who did? Mesereau and thats why Jackson is free as a bird and Peterson is guilty as sin.

    Peterson trial was a disgrace, IMHO` (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed May 07, 2008 at 11:33:05 PM EST
    He may well have dunnit, but the prosecution didn't come close to proving it.  And that jury!!  Aiiieeee.

    stone cold innocent (none / 0) (#31)
    by beyondalldoubt on Thu May 08, 2008 at 02:03:40 AM EST
    Prosecution bungled that trial like I have never seen before. It was so bad. They just could not get it together.

    But one thing you've got to blame Geragos for is that he went the "stone cold innocent" approach and not the "reasonable doubt" argument.

    I think if he would have argued the "beyond a reasonable doubt" factor from opening, to cross, to closing... you MAY have had a different outcome.

    I'd love to talk to you about the way not only Geragos but also the prosecution bungled that case. Maybe Jeralyn can create an Open Peterson Thread for us.