Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Witness: Fundraiser spoke of plan to fire US attorney

Go to AP original
CHICAGO (AP) -- A government witness testified Monday that a prominent political fundraiser for the governor told him three years ago that Chicago's chief federal prosecutor would be fired and replaced by someone chosen by then-U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

Restaurant owner Elie Maloof testified that Antoin "Tony" Rezko told him that the person picked to replace Patrick J. Fitzgerald as U.S. attorney in Chicago would end a federal investigation into corruption under Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"The federal prosecutor would no longer be the federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald would be eliminated," Maloof said at Rezko's fraud trial.

Prosecutors said last week that former Illinois Finance Authority executive director Ali Ata, who is set to take the witness stand as early as Thursday, will testify Rezko told him of a plan to replace Fitzgerald.

Prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve that Ata would say he talked with Rezko about such efforts on the part of Springfield lobbyist Robert Kjellander and former presidential adviser Karl Rove.


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