UPDATE, A RANT: Some people are suggesting that, if Obama does not come up in the Rezko trial, that that is reason to drop the subject. To which I have this to say:
Even IF there is no wrongdoing in a legal sense — or, more precisely, any legal problem that is relevant to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s very specific case against Antoin Rezko (meaning that Fitz, whether or not there are problems there, will not introduce Obama into the trial unless it aids his case) [ED: added point] — tell me why on earth a famous politician would consort with a man like this — known at the time about to be indicted by Fitzgerald — and do a clearly cozy real estate deal?
It’d be one thing if you or I did it. We’re not elected officials under constant media scrutiny, so if there’s nothing “illegal,” nobody will ever know about our cozy deal. We’re not entering the f–king U.S. Senate. We’re not planning to run for president. We’re not running for the most powerful job on earth on the premise that we represent a different, more pure kind of politics. The “boneheaded” excuse doesn’t cut it.
Besides, was Rezko the only guy in all of the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, or anywhere in the U.S. — from all of the connections Obama had developed for decades among the powerful — that he could get to help him do the deal? The only one? And his wife the only person in all of the U.S. who could buy that empty lot on the same day he bought the house?
Why did he have to go to a man under indictment to do this real estate deal? Why did he have to use Reko’s wife, with no known means, to buy the lot? Why not go to someone above board? Why not sweet-talk a bank or lender? WHY? WHY? That is why all of this stinks. Now this:
UPDATE x3 at 5:47 a.m. PST, March 6, via “Rick Ellensburg has no ethical standard for Obama [Karl]“:
Stories reported in the Chicago Sun-Times suggest that Obama may have looked the other way – and wrote letters supporting more Rezko projects — as eleven Rezko buildings turned into slums in his state Senate district. That may or may not be a crime, but the many African-American families who lived in Rezko buildings riddled with problems — including squalid living conditions, vacant apartments, lack of heat, squatters and drug dealers — might have a different opinion than Ellensburg as to whether Obama may have been involved in “wrongdoing.”
There is also the possibility [QUOTING LARRY JOHNSON’s article here] that Obama may have asked the State Department to get an Iraqi felon a visa to the US at Rezko’s request — and that money from said felon may have ended up financing that now infamous Obama-Rezko real estate deal. … Read all.
Original: Well, yes, there’s some silly story that all the rightwing bloggers are very exercised about and peddling today (“FARC endorses Obama“) but this is truly fascinating and comes from heretofore sealed court documents. I have uploaded the 63-page PDF to our server so that you can download and read it: rezko_testimony_070116.pdf.
IMPORTANT from the ABC News summary: Rezko “told the judge he had no current source of income, saying his last business deal involving a proposed power plant in Iraq had been cancelled.” That venture involved convicted Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi. See Larry Johnson’s story, “Will Rezko Blow Up Obama?”
Rezko In Debt $50 Million; How Did He Afford Obama Lot?
Court Transcript Says Rezko Depends on Family Handouts of $7,500 a Month
By BRIAN ROSS and RHONDA SCHWARTZ
March 5, 2008—
Accused Illinois fixer Antoin “Tony” Rezko is in debt by $50 million and relies on “family” handouts of $7,500 a month to pay monthly costs, according to a previously sealed court transcript reviewed by ABC News.
Rezko’s bleak financial picture raises the question of how the Rezkos were able to buy a vacant lot adjoining the home of Sen. Barack Obama in 2005, at a time Rezko says he was already in deep debt.
Rezko also reveals in the testimony, before Judge Amy St. Eve on Jan. 16, 2007, that he already knew he was under federal investigation at the time of the land purchase and had hired a criminal defense attorney to deal with the “feds.”
Obama says he sought Rezko’s help because the house he wanted to buy in Chicago’s Hyde Park came with an adjoining lot the seller wanted to sell at the same time.
Unable to afford it himself, Obama says Mrs. Rezko bought it for $625,000, and then later sold a strip of the lot back to Obama so he would have a larger yard. Obama says he paid Mrs. Rezko a fair market price. …
Here’s a bit more from the ABC News story:
… Mrs. Rezko makes $37,500 a year.
According to the transcript, Mrs. Rezko sold the vacant lot a few weeks before the hearing, with all proceeds going to pay previous debts.
Asked how he was able to pay his lawyer, Joseph Duffy, Rezko said family and some unnamed “friends” were paying his legal bills.
Duffy told the judge, “Mr. Rezko has not provided us any money since his indictment.”
Rezko told the judge he had no current source of income, saying his last business deal involving a proposed power plant in Iraq had been cancelled.
He said he had an ongoing relationship with Nadhmi Auchi, a London-based Iraqi billionaire convicted on French fraud charges, who Rezko described as a close friend and business associate. …
Questions. We have a few.
Check this out for more on the questions swirling around Obama’s relationship with Rezko, and that mysterious involvement of Nadhmi Auchi, including a link to Larry Johnson’s story on Auchi/Rezko.