Tony Rezko Sentenced to 10 1/2 Years

Update: Tony Rezko was sentenced today to 10 1/2 years in prison. Since he's served 45 months, with good time of 54 days a year after the first year, he should be out in about 5 years.


Antoin (Tony) Rezko finally faces sentencing today in Chicago. Prosecutors are asking for 11 to 15 years. Rezko is asking for time served (53 months.)

Last week I read through the initial 100 pages of sentencing pleadings filed, and summarized the arguments.

On Friday, Rezko filed another response, alleging among other things:[More...]

[T]he government avoids any discussion of Mr. Rezko’s faith and family values. The many letters the Court has received leave no doubt that Mr. Rezko is a man of faith, a loyal and devoted husband, a supportive and nurturing father, and an extremely generous and inspiring leader of a large extended family. Certainly these traits speak to Mr. Rezko’s overall character, while the fact that he has such an extensive support network indicates that he will be able to transition back to a productive and law-abiding life after his release.

Team Rezko blast the Government for recommending a sentence twice as long for Rezko as for cooperator Stuart Levine:

While Mr. Rezko generously supported charities and made anonymous monthly donations to fund the operations of his newlyformed church, Levine schemed to steal money from charities. While Mr. Rezko spent hundreds of thousands of his hard-earned dollars to bring relatives to this country, to pay for their education, and to help them purchase their first homes, Levine spent hundreds of thousands of ill-gotten dollars on hard-core illegal drugs. While Mr. Rezko’s home was the social center for his family, relatives, and friends, Levine routinely snuck out of his home to engage in illicit allnight orgies. It is nothing short of unconscionable that the United States government would recommend that Mr. Rezko receive a sentence more than twice as long as Levine’s, purportedly based on a “full analysis” of 3553(a) factors, without ever acknowledging that their respective characters and personal histories are so thoroughly different as to be not at all analogous.

In a footnote to that paragraph:

The evidence at trial showed that in less than four and one-half years, from January 2000 through May 2004, Levine spent over $1.3 million in cash on drugs, drug binges, and other illegal purposes.

Rezko mocks the Government's assertion that Levine would not have been prosecuted under federal drug laws because he was just a user.

In this district, the war on drugs apparently ends when the war on corruption begins. Had the government not been so anxious to minimize the quantities of drugs distributed by Levine, or had it not so readily turned a blind eye to his decades of possession and distribution offenses, Levine certainly could have faced charges that would have triggered mandatory minimum sentences.

Rezko says a sentence of time served would avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities with other co-conspirators. He complains that Lon Monk, who only agreed to cooperate once he found out Rezko was cooperating, received a 24 month sentence.

Monk is necessarily at least as culpable as Rezko for the wrongdoing Blagojevich, [deceased Chris] Kelly, Monk, and Rezko schemed to commit together.

Rezko also points to the Government's hypocrisy in claiming Rezko wasn't a viewed as a potentially valuable witness while keeping him in local jails for 45 months because it might call him as a witness:

Surely the government would not be so callous as to ask a cooperating defendant to go without fresh air, sunlight, and family contact for nearly four years unless it truly valued his cooperation....The government repeatedly represented to this Court, to Judge Zagel, to Mr. Rezko, and to the defendants in the Blagojevich and Cellini cases that it was considering calling Rezko as a witness.

...In an interesting display of chutzpah, the government contacted Defendant’s counsel on November 4, 2011, the day after filing its Sentencing Memorandum, to request Rezko’s cooperation in an investigation of an individual whose name had not come up in any of the prior 29 interview sessions. To his credit, Mr. Rezko agreed to be interviewed despite first learning, on the same day, that the government was seeking an 11-15 year sentence.

On belittling the Government's claim that Rezko's conditions of confinement (described in my prior post here) don't warrant a further reduction because there aren't two classes of jails, one for white collar inmates and one for others:

More fundamentally, Mr. Rezko’s argument is not his conditions are unacceptable to white collar inmates; his argument is that his conditions are unacceptable to any human being....No human being should live for 45 months without a breath of fresh air, a ray of sunlight, or a moment of outdoor exercise. No non-violent inmate should live for years without a hug from his family or a handshake from a friend. That Mr. Rezko has endured these conditions for so long – solely at the request of the government to facilitate his cooperation – must, as a matter of fundamental fairness, be considered as an independent sentencing factor.

In its most recent filing, the Government disputes all of Rezko's allegations, says his conduct was worse and he lied more. It also says it took his conditions of confinement into account in arriving at its 11 to 15 year recommendation.

Under current guidelines, Rezko's range would be life in prison. The Government agreed to use the lower 2003 guidelines because those were the Guidelines used to determine Levine’s sentence. It is giving Rezko something for cooperation and amendable to some reduction for his conditions of confinement.

Rezko has lost 80 pounds since incarcerated, now weighing 154 pounds. Between solitary and being housed with mentally ill inmates, I don't think there's any question he has had it rougher than anyone else. But I have no idea what the judge will do.

Blagojevich gets sentenced December 6.

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  • Display: Sort:
    I can not help but think of (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by TeresaInPa on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 07:22:10 AM EST
    Obama's connection to this guy, the fund raisers for Obama while Rezco's tenants had no heat.  Tenants that Rezko made money off of thanks to Obama helping him get tax payer money to set up his slum lord properties.
    No one wants to tell the truth about this, so Rezko goes to jail and we get an inexperienced Presidential candidate everyone is terrified of criticizing for fear of being labeled raycist.
    Oh well, whatever.  This next election is going to be more choices between misery more misery and despair, unless you are part of the 1 percent. If you are part of the 1 percent things are working out just dandy for you.
    So do we suppose Rezko went bad in the last few years or was he always corrupt and always obviously corrupt and the go to guy if you wanted  a guy to help you to rig the system in your favor?
    If we continue to turn our head and say "well that's politics"  then we get unprepared seat warmers in office who pretend they know what they are doing but that "hands off" is their leadership style rather than them trying not to look like a fraud.  We got it with bush and now we have it again with Obama. When are we going to go back to insisting that our vote matters?
    Rezko in jail for the maximum time.  Hell yes, maybe it will loosen his tongue and teach him to value the truth a bit more than money.

    and what is this truth of which you speak? (none / 0) (#6)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:13:51 PM EST
    No one wants to tell the truth about this, so Rezko goes to jail and we get an inexperienced Presidential candidate everyone is terrified of criticizing for fear of being labeled raycist. . . . Rezko in jail for the maximum time.  Hell yes, maybe it will loosen his tongue and teach him to value the truth a bit more than money.

    since this is a law blog, do you have evidence of criminal behavior on the part of Barack Obama, behavior that would be exposed if only Tony Rezko's tongue were loosened?

    link(s), please


    Ha. Maybe Tony will write a memoir. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:18:06 PM EST
    it's all over the internet (none / 0) (#8)
    by TeresaInPa on Thu Nov 24, 2011 at 08:49:34 PM EST
    let's start with this one.....since when can you buy a house and your side yard and drive way (surrounded by the same fence as the rest of your property) be considered a separate lot?  Do you really need a link for that one?
    Link? Link? lol

    "Don't Fence Me In," sung by... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Nov 24, 2011 at 09:18:40 PM EST
    ... Roy "Bonehead Move" Rogers:



    ok (none / 0) (#11)
    by The Addams Family on Sat Nov 26, 2011 at 02:02:11 PM EST
    & what was the crime? where are the charges?

    if you're going to insinuate, especially on a legal blog, that someone has committed a crime, i think it's reasonable to ask you for the evidence

    so, again - link?


    In our earlier discussion (none / 0) (#2)
    by KeysDan on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 08:41:13 AM EST
    of sentencing of Tony Rezko (Nov 8), my assessment was that Rezko's and Levine's crimes were not equal and, hence, sentencing need not be the same.  I went with the lower end of the government's proposal, 11 years, with credit given for time served (45 months).   The treatment and conditions during Rezko's confinement can't be justified and my thinking attempted to reflect that.  However, it may be that credit for time served should be further weighted in Rezko's favor, say, up  to 60 months.  But, Rezko's crimes undermined  government in concert with more than willing corrupt politicians.  A sentence of such nature seems in keeping with the crime.

    Tony Rezko was sentenced to 10.5 years, (none / 0) (#3)
    by KeysDan on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 01:20:24 PM EST
    with credit for time served--which is almost 4.5 years, leaving about six more years.  

    he'll also get 2 months off a year (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 01:37:44 PM EST
    for good time after year 1 -- 126 months less 12 = 114. 114/12= around 9. 9 x 2 = 18 months off. So the 126 is really 108 months or 9 years, and he's done 4.5 so he has 4.5 years left.

    Put another way, he does 85% of 126 months or 107 months. Less his 53 months already served leaves 54 months, or 4.5 years.


    make that 5 years (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Nov 22, 2011 at 02:01:10 PM EST
    he's served 45 months, not 53. The defense asked for 53 months because that's how much he's served with good time applied. So its 107 - 45 = 62 months.

    Don't know (none / 0) (#10)
    by NYShooter on Fri Nov 25, 2011 at 09:00:38 AM EST
    all the specifics of Rezko's crimes other than they fall under the general topic of "corruption." While I understand that "two wrongs don't make a right," it seems to me that basic justice cries out to the unfairness of a middle aged swindler forfeiting a decade of his life while the obscene, immoral wretches who destroyed the lives of tens of millians of innocent people ride off unscathed, and richer than ever.