Judge orders Rezko to remain jailed

January 29, 2008 4:08:31 PM PST
Political fundraiser Tony Rezko will remain in jail until his trial, which is scheduled to begin at the end of February.That was the decision Tuesday from federal judge Amy St. Eve.

The judge revoked Rezko's $2 million bond Monday. On Tuesday, she said the indicted businessman is too much of a flight risk.

Rezko appeared in court Tuesday afternoon wearing an orange jumpsuit and leg shackles and will remain in the Metropolitan Correction Center for the foreseeable future because he's lost credibility with federal judge St. Eve.

In January of 2007, Rezko told St. Eve he was broke and would depend on relatives to put up their homes to secure a $1.5 million bond. Three months later, in April of last year, he received a $3.5 million wire transfer from an overseas company with whom Rezko is building a retail-residential development in the South Loop.

Rezko's lawyers said the money from the Loop project was a loan, but St. Eve said his access to that kind of cash makes the Syrian-born businessman a flight risk. So she ordered him held until trial.

Rezko's attorney also claimed the feds knew about the wire transfer when it happened, and he asked why the government is bringing it up now, less than a month before Rezko's trial.

"The transaction in question took place in April of 2007," said attorney Joseph Duffy. "Within one day of the transaction, the government knew of the transaction. Yet they didn't bring it to the attention of the court until January."

"Why not?" Duffy was asked by a reporter.

"You have to ask the government. They said he's a flight risk but sat on this evidence for 10 months," he said.

Duffy said he won't be able to prepare adequately for trial with his client in the correctional center. He wants the trial date moved back to preparel.

Rezko is charged in a federal case that he extorted money from companies trying to do business with the state of Illinois.