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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Obama's Got Rezko and Hillary's Got a Fraud Trial

Obama's Eyes on Rezko
Andrew Romano

As jury selection began yesterday in the corruption trial of veteran Chicago fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko, there was an unexpected face in the courtroom audience: an unidentified staffer scoping out the scene for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama.

As Newsweek reported this week, Obama is a long-time friend of Rezko's. In 2005, Rezko and his wife were involved in a tangled property deal in which Rezko's wife bought a vacant lot next to a historical house purchased by Obama and his wife; Obama later acknowledged that his real-estate dealings with Rezko were "boneheaded."

There is no allegation that there was anything illegal about the house deal or Obama's role in it. But federal prosecutors have indicated in court papers that it is at least possible that Obama's name could surface in Rezko's trial on complex corruption charges. Government documents say that an unnamed politician received a $10,000 campaign contribution through a straw donor from Rezko, and that the money originated with a dubious "finders fee" paid to the developer as part of an allegedly corrupt scheme to influence members of a state teachers' pension fund board. Chicago media have reported that the politician who received the $10,000 was Obama; this was confirmed to NEWSWEEK by a source close to the Rezko investigation, who asked for anonymity when discussing non-public information. (There is no suggestion that Obama knew that the campaign contribution was tainted, and he has donated $160,000 in Rezko-related funds to charity.)

Bill Burton, an Obama campaign spokesman, confirmed that a campaign representative was indeed present in the courtroom for Rezko's trial. "She went to the trial to gather information since we've gotten so many media inquiries," Burton said in an e-mail to NEWSWEEK.


Clintons to face fraud trial
By Kathy Miller

WORLDNET DAILY- Judge setting date, testimony to include ex-president, senator

While Hillary Clinton battles Barack Obama on the campaign trail, a judge in Los Angeles is quietly preparing to set a trial date in a $17 million fraud suit that aims to expose an alleged culture of widespread corruption by the Clintons and the Democratic Party.

At the conclusion of a hearing Thursday morning before California Superior Court Judge Aurelio N. Munoz, lawyers for Hollywood mogul Peter F. Paul will begin seeking sworn testimony from all three Clintons – Bill, Hillary and Chelsea – along with top Democratic Party leaders and A-list celebrities, including Barbra Streisand, John Travolta, Brad Pitt and Cher.

Paul's team hopes for a trial in October. The Clinton's longtime lawyer David Kendall, who will attend the hearing, has declined comment on the suit.

The Clintons have tried to dismiss the case, but the California Supreme Court, in 2004, upheld a lower-court decision to deny the motion.

Bill Clinton, according to the complaint, promised to promote Paul's Internet entertainment company, Stan Lee Media, in exchange for stock, cash options and massive contributions to his wife's 2000 Senate campaign. Paul contends he was directed by the Clintons and Democratic Party leaders to produce, pay for and then join them in lying about footing the bill for a Hollywood gala and fundraiser.

The Clintons' legal counsel has denied the former president made any deal with Paul. But Paul attorney Colette Wilson told WND there are witnesses who say it was common knowledge at Stan Lee Media that Bill Clinton was preparing to be a rainmaker for the company after he left office.

Paul claims former Vice President Al Gore, former Democratic Party chairman Ed Rendell and Clinton presidential campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe also are among the people who can confirm Paul engaged in the deal.

Paul claims Rendell directed various illegal contributions to the DNC and Hillary Clinton's campaign and failed to report to the Federal Election Commission more than $100,000 given for a Hollywood event for Gore's campaign and the Democratic National Committee in 2000. McAuliffe, Paul says, counseled him in two separate meetings to become a major donor to Hillary Clinton to pave the way to hire her husband. Paul asserts top Clinton adviser Harold Ickes also directed him to give money to the Senate campaign but hid that fact in "perjured testimony" during the trial of campaign finance director David Rosen.


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