Syrian businessman Antoin Rezko, indicted and convicted, is talking. How much? Don't know. Obama is tainted that we know - is he giving him up or just the Governor? Don't know. Is he spilling it on his friend and Saddam's alleged hatchet man, Auchi? Don't know. But it promises to be juicy.
CHICAGO - Federal prosecutors moved Monday to delay indefinitely the sentencing of convicted fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko, sending their strongest hint yet that he is ready to spill his political secrets.
The filing asks for a postponement while prosecutors and defense attorneys "engage in discussions that could affect their sentencing postures."
Speculation has simmered for weeks that the key fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Sen. Barack Obama was whispering what he knows about corruption in Illinois government to federal prosecutors in hopes of getting a lighter sentence.
Rezko raised more than $1 million for Blagojevich's campaign fund and was one of the governor's key advisers. He was frequently by the governor's side in the early days of his administration and could be in a position to shed considerable light on federal investigations into patronage hiring and a host of other issues involving Blagojevich.
The governor has not been charged with wrongdoing. A spokesman did not immediately respond to an e-mail message after business hours seeking comment.
U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve had set Sept. 3 as a firm date for sentencing Rezko on his conviction for launching a $7 million scheme to use his clout with the Blagojevich administration to squeeze kickbacks out of a contractor and seven money management firms wanting to do business with the state. Then she postponed the sentencing date to Oct. 28. Federal prosecutors filed a three-paragraph brief late Monday asking for that date to be stricken and the sentencing postponed indefinitely. The wording left little doubt that Rezko offered enough to make the government consider some sort of sentencing break.
Federal spokesman Randall Samborn declined to comment on the latest development. Defense attorneys Joseph Duffy and William Ziegelmueller did not immediately respond to office voicemails left late Monday.
Two attorneys familiar with the investigation, speaking only on condition of anonymity because grand jury matters are secret, said last week that federal prosecutors were contacting the lawyers of a number of campaign contributors and others with information that only Rezko could have given them. One of the lawyers said it was plain the prosecutors were laying the groundwork for questioning Rezko further.
Obama's campaign says it has sent to charity $159,000 traceable to Rezko's past fundraising.
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