CHICAGO - A federal judge has denied a request from prosecutors to introduce evidence at the upcoming corruption trial of Antoin Rezko - a former fundraiser to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich - alleging that Rezko steered to his associates portions of an $809,000 payment Bear, Stearns & Co. made to an Illinois lobbyist after the firm was chosen to senior manage a $10 billion pension bond issue.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve is the first time such an allegation involving the controversial payment to prominent Republican consultant Robert Kjellander of Springfield Consulting Group has surfaced in the ongoing corruption probe of state government known as Operation Board Games.

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