Judge revokes Rezko bond

January 28, 2008 4:12:54 PM PST
A federal judge says she is afraid Tony Rezko will skip town. So, he was arrested Monday, and the judge revoked his bond, ordering him held in the federal lockup.

Rezko was arrested at his mansion in Wilmette before dawn Monday.

Antoine Rezko was born in Syria and still has lots of family and business contacts in the Middle East. From the federal court's point of view, those facts alone make him a better-than-average flight risk.

In their motion, government prosecutors showed judge Amy St. Eve evidence that the defendant received a $3.5 million wire transfer from Beirut, Lebanon and had used that money for personal expenses and payments to family members who had posted their homes to secure Rezko's $2 million bond.

"This defendant has played a shell game and misled the court about what his financial status was. He's a risk for flight and should be detained," said assistant U.S. attorney Reid Schar.

Businessman Rezko, a major contributor to dozens of politicians, including Illinois Senator Barack Obama, was indicted in 2006 for his role in an alleged scheme to extort money from companies trying to get state business.

Judge St. Eve said in January, 2007 that Rezko told her that he and his wife, Rita, were broke, their sole support family and church donations, and that they would use properties owned by relatives to secure Rezko's bond.

Rezko's attorney, Joseph Duffy, called the wire transfer a loan from a Luxembourg-based Lebanese company, adding that all Rezko money transactions were approved by his legal team.

"The fault lies with me and not with Mr. Rezko," said Duffy.

And during a mini-mob scene outside the federal building, Duffy told reporters his client is no flight risk.

"He's attended every hearing, employed lawyers to defend him. He has done nothing to violate the terms of his bond over the last two years," said Duffy.

But Judge St. Eve was not convinced and revoked the bond she set for Rezko in January of 2007.

"Had I known then what I know now, the bond would have been different," she said.

On Tuesday, the judge presumably will set a higher bond for Rezko. Has told the court on numerous occasions he has no money. So if he cannot make that bond, he will remain in the Metropolitan Correctional Center before and during his trial, which is set to begin February 25.