Rezko witness 'here to tell the truth'

CHICAGO Stuart Levine spent nearly a month testifying against Rezko regarding alleged kickbacks the two received for awarding state pension fund business.

After fourteen days on the witness stand during a three week period, star prosecution witness Levine left the courthouse for what he hoped was the last time during the Rezko trial.

As he finished his cross examination, defense attorney Joseph Duffy suggested again that Levine, who plead guilty in the case, became a lying government witness to save himself from a life prison term.

Levine, who angrily raised his voice during some answers, said at one point:

"I am here, sir, to tell the truth about what happened between Mr. Rezko and myself."

Outside the courthouse, ABC7 Chicago's Charles Thomas asked Levine to rate his performance:

"I have no comment on the trial. I'm very sorry," he said.

Levine frequently contradicted himself during his testimony, and his own admissions of drug abuse and assorted schemes during the past 30 years apparently worry federal prosecutors. They asked judge Amy St. Eve to allow testimony by an FBI agent to "rehabilitate" Levine's credibility. The judge took the motion under advisement.

Also testifying Tuesday was lawyer Joseph Cari, who plead guilty to paying Levine a bribe to get business for his investment firm. Cari was the national finance chairman in 2000 for Democrat Al Gore's run for the presidency. Cari testified that Rezko, Levine and others wanted him to raise money for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was serious about running for the White House in the future.

Cari also testified that, during a flight to a fundraising event in New York, Blagojevich personally told him that individuals who worked with the administration would be rewarded with state contracts.

As of late Tuesday evening, there had been no comment from the governor's office.

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