What was supposed to be the corruption trial of century, the case that would make Lincoln roll over in his grave, ended up being the case that should make Obama want to crawl into a cave.
On June 8, 2010, the Government began its 24-count case of corruption against former Governor Rod Blagojevich. The Government’s opening statement told the jury “the evidence will show” that Blagojevich conspired with Lon Monk, Tony Rezko and Chris Kelly when they “devised ways to gain personal profit” from the Governor’s position of power. They then proceeded with the following allegations:
1. Tony Rezko arranged for insiders at Bear Stearns to provide a $500,.000 kickback to himself and Governor Blagojevich.
2. Stuart Levine also arranged for “kickbacks” and was even recorded on his home phone by the FBI.
3. Blagojevich “tried” to shakedown then Congressman Rahm Emanuel but his middleman wouldn’t do the “dirty work” asked of him by Blagojevich.
4. Blagojevich “tried” to shakedown a concrete company for a tollway project. He sent Lon Monk to ask the owner of the company if he would raise $500,000 for Blagojevich. “No success.”
5. Blagojevich learned that Obama wanted Valerie Jarrett to be named to his vacant Senate Seat so he considered his power to appoint as a “golden ticket” to research what jobs he could get from Obama. When that didn’t work, he considered Jesse Jackson, Jr. and how much the Congressman’s supporters to raise for him in exchange for the appointment.
Yesterday, just five weeks after the trial’s start, the Government ended their case-in-chief. Even though the FBI recorded over 500 hours of conversations, the prosecution only played less than 100 brief conversations or “snippets” of conversations.
Sources close to the case say the witness list was a mile long: 600-800 people. Yet only 30 or so witnesses were actually called to testify.
Did alleged co-conspirator Tony Rezco testify at trial? No. In fact, he’s still waiting to be sentenced on 16 of 24 corruption charges to which he was found guilty over two years ago, on June 4, 2008. (Also, Mr. Rezko apparently isn’t even in prison!)
Did Stuart Levine testify at trial? No. In fact, he’s still waiting to be sentenced to 23 out of 24 counts of corruption which he pleaded guilty to almost four years ago, on October 27, 2006.
Did alleged co-conspirator Chris Kelly testify? No. He committed suicide last year after pleading guilty (but of course wasn’t sentenced yet) to unrelated tax charges.
Did Congressman Jackson, an alleged victim of Blagojevich, testify? No.
The case did not end with a star witness or proof of a major-money transaction; it was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Instead, more questions about the White House involvement loomed. No wonder why alleged victim Rahm Emanuel didn’t testify!
The prosecution’s next to last witness was lobbyist John Wyma who told the jury that Rahm Emanuel called him and asked that he deliver a message to the Governor on behalf of President-Elect Obama: “He said the President-Elect would value and appreciate Valerie Jarrett in the Senate seat.”
Obama and Emanuel’s involvement in this case was evident early-on and throughout the trial, especially when SEIU union official Tom Balanoff told the jury, “I told Jarrett that if Blagojevich didn’t appoint you, he would no longer get our support.”
The prosecution failed tremendously with its “shakedown” theme. Now, it’s time for the defense to show the real story. Who better to tell it than Rahm Emanuel, the President’s emissary, himself? And who better to explain Obama’s unprecedented transparent use of emissaries than the President himself?
Tamara N. Holder is one of the nation’s rising attorneys and legal analytical stars. She is a Contributor for the Fox News Channel. She has received recognition from some of the country’s most respected people, organizations and publications. Tamara founded The Law Firm of Tamara N. Holder, LLC in 2005. Her work includes: criminal defense, expungement, race discrimination, police brutality, public policy, and pro bono practices. Seeing the need for outreach in this area, Tamara founded www.xpunged.com, a practice that provides a second chance to those individuals who have expungeable offenses under Illinois law.