Perhaps never before has a sitting Illinois governor become so enmeshed in a criminal proceeding of such breadth.
Rezko's trial, set to begin with jury selection Monday, is expected to shed unflattering light on the inner workings of an administration that (Rod) Blagojevich vowed would clean up state government after his predecessor left in scandal.
Boiled to its essence, the prosecution's complex case against Rezko involves allegations that he and other insiders exploited their relationship with Blagojevich to seek millions of dollars in kickbacks from firms seeking state business or regulatory approval.
The government's case is expected to include testimony about separate conversations between Blagojevich and two political insiders in which he allegedly gave a thumbs-up to pay-to-play politics. In one conversation, according to court documents, Blagojevich was said to have explicitly raised the notion of rewarding campaign donors with state contracts, legal work and investment banking.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
The essence of the Rezko trial
National attention will be on the Barack Obama angle, but the real focus of the Tony Rezko trial starting tomorrow in Chicago was well summarized by Tribune reporters Bob Secter and Ray Long.