Governor: Rezko needs to tell truth

October 7, 2008 3:30:00 PM PDT
Governor Rod Blagojevich is calling on Tony Rezko to tell the truth, the day after federal prosecutors gave their strongest hint yet that the convicted fundraiser might be cooperating with them. "My heart goes out to him and his family. He, like everyone else, should tell the truth," said Governor Rod Blagojevich Tuesday, talking about his friend and convicted former fundraiser Tony Rezko.

The governor's comments come as Rezko is reportedly cooperating with federal authorities from his jail cell. The governor has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors have asked the judge in Rezko's case to postpone his sentencing indefinitely. Some speculate that could mean that Rezko and his attorneys may be cooperating.

Rod Blagojevich maintained Tuesday he has nothing to worry about. That's because, he says, several months ago Tony Rezko himself went on the record with a statement that the governor had done nothing wrong.

"When you believe in the truth and know what the truth is with respect to yourself you feel good about things," said Blagojevich.

During the 10 minutes the governor made himself available, every question was about Tony Rezko. The convicted political fundraiser's federal sentencing has been postponed amid speculation that Rezko has flipped and become a federal witness.

"The process has to continue to unfold. He should do as everyone ought to do and be truthful," said Blagojevich.

During Rezko's trial last spring, the governor's name was mentioned repeatedly as the elected official for whom the Wilmette businessman raised campaign cash and allegedly to whose administration Rezko controlled appointments.

Five days after the guilty verdict, defense attorneys revealed a letter Rezko wrote to Judge Amy St. Eve that mentioned the governor and U.S. Senator Barack Obama: "I have never been party to any wrongdoing that involved the governor or the senator. I will never fabricate lies about anyone else."

Tuesday, the governor cited that letter several times.

"He wrote a letter to a federal judge, and he was expressly clear that when it came to Senator Obama and me, we never did anything wrong," said Blagojevich.

Blagojevich spoke Tuesday at Chicago State University, where he and several state lawmakers helped dedicate the convocation center named for retiring State Senate President Emil Jones.

State Rep Connie Howard says she's aware of the governor's possible Rezko problem but does not let it get in her way.

"We don't know whether or not at the end of the day there's going to be a complete exoneration of the governor. We don't whether or not there's gong to be something negative that happens. We .don't know any of that," said Howard.

Published reports say the feds are focused on who paid for renovations on the governor's house on the North Side of Chicago. Blagojevich called the reports "much ado about nothing" and said he and his wife Patti paid for all of the work.

"We paid for that renovation by checks," the governor said. "The canceled checks are where they belong. They're at the bank.

Of course, ABC7 has no access to copies of checks from the governor's personal account.

To buttress reports that Rezko is cooperating with the feds, sources at the MCC say that Rezko is on the move these days, coming and going from the jail, possibly to meet with federal agents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved.


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