CHICAGO – A federal judge took away the anonymity of “Public Official A” in a political corruption case and identified the official as Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Judge Amy St. Eve found that Antoin Rezko, one of Blagojevich’s main fund-raisers, was involved in a scheme with attorney Stuart Levine to blackmail Chicago businessman and Hollywood producer Thomas Rosenberg for a $2 million payoff or a $1.5 million campaign contribution to go to Blagojevich.
Rezko, 52, is charged with plotting with Levine to shake down businesses seeking regulatory approval from the state.
Blagojevich has not been charged with any wrongdoing. “As we’ve said about this matter before, we don’t know anything about the conversation described in the document,” Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said. “The governor was never involved in such a conversation.”
In a related decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Rezko’s request to be released on bond. Rezko posted a $2 million bond, but Judge St. Eve ordered him back to jail because he failed to report changes in his financial status, including a $3.5 million loan from Iraqi billionaire Nadhmi Auchi, who forgave the loan in exchange for a prime piece of Chicago real estate.
Rezko had complained that conditions in the Metropolitan Correctional Center were so poor that he had to share underwear with fellow inmates.