Federal prosecutors this week filed a motion seeking to delay the upcoming sentencing date for Antoin Rezko — Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s former top fundraiser and adviser who was convicted of corruption in June.
The motion was viewed by some as further evidence that Rezko may be cooperating with the U.S. attorney’s office in its ongoing probe of state government corruption known as Operation Boardgames. Recent published reports have suggested that Rezko is now cooperating with federal authorities based on comments from attorneys who represent various officials named in court documents.
The motion asks U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve to postpone the sentencing “while the parties engage in discussions that could affect their sentencing postures.” The sentencing is currently scheduled for Oct. 28. St. Eve rules on the motion today.
Rezko was found guilty on 16 of 24 counts stemming from charges that he used his influence as an adviser and fundraiser for the governor to seek kickbacks in exchange for state investment business for his own benefit or to funnel into campaign coffers.
Ali Ata, the former head of the Illinois Finance Authority, testified during the trial that he was named to that post as a reward from Blagojevich and Rezko for his contributions. The governor is not charged with any wrongdoing but is referred to repeatedly in federal documents as Public Official A, and Rezko’s cooperation could further the government’s probe.
Rezko’s indictment marked the closest the federal probe has come to the governor’s office, and the trial hung heavily over the atmosphere of the most recent state legislative session.
Rezko was a prominent fundraiser for both Republican and Democratic officials, including the Democratic presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. Rezko also held great sway over appointments early in Blagojevich’s tenure and told some bankers what consultants to hire to help win a role in Illinois’ $10 billion pension bond sale in 2003.