Rezko Corruption Trial Begins

Jury selection gets under way for accused Chicago businessman with ties to governor, Obama
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2008 9:19 AM CST
Chicago real estate developer and fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko leaves the federal building in Chicago in this Oct. 19, 2006, file photo where he is facing federal charges as the central figure in a...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – With jury selection beginning for the corruption trial of Chicago businessman and political fundraiser Tony Rezko, the Chicago Sun-Times offers some background on the key facets of the case. Rezko, a Syrian-born real estate and fast-food tycoon who established footholds in the Illinois governor's circles, is accused of pocketing illegal payouts from companies wishing to do business with the state.

Court officials expect to need overflow seating once the trial starts, as the case's ties to Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Sen. Barack Obama make it the hottest story in town. Big names won't be shielded as they were in court documents, which referred to "Public Official A" and "Individual B." Prosecutors say Rezko gave the Obama campaign  $10,000 from a kickback scheme; Obama isn't accused of wrongdoing, and he has given that donation to charity.