Will Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald Destroy the Obama Campaign?

The national media are missing the big picture in their coverage of the hundred-million dollar plus scandal involving Barack Obama and his friend of 17 years, major donor, former Finance Committee Co-Chair and now indicted slumlord.

Debate moderator Brian Williams asked Obama about the scandal during last Thursday’s first Democratic Candidates for President debate. But Williams did not reference the political implications of the Obama scandal: the trial of Obama’s decades long friend and major donor and fundraiser will coincide with the 2008 primary calendar.

“Will Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald Destroy The Obama Campaign?” The legendary Patrick Fitzgerald indicted and convicted top Vice President Cheney aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby. Fitzgerald has now set his relentless prosecutorial eyes on a new target.

Fitzgerald’s United States Federal Prosecutor Office for Illinois has filed a 65 page indictment of Antoin “Tony” Rezko .

The trial has been scheduled for February 25, 2008 by U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve. Judge Eve called the trial date of Febuary 25, 2008 a firm date. The trial preparations and news will coincide with the first Democratic Primaries and Caucuses in January and February 2008. The headlines are sure to draw attention to Obama’s shady deals with Rezko in the purchase of Obama’s $1.65 million house.

We have written previously about some of Obama’s problems. The Chicago Sun-Times has been relentless in its coverage of the scandals surrounding Obama. In a recent editorial, the Sun-Times outlined the political, if not actual legal damage Obama, is, and will continue to suffer:

“Kudos to the Chicago aldermen who are asking some of the same questions we had in response to a Sun-Times investigation published earlier this week: Why did the city and state continue to provide loans, grants and tax credits to projects that involved Tony Rezko when the city at the same time was suing his company in Housing Court for basics such as no heat? Why didn’t the city shut off the spigot as soon as his buildings ran into problems? Didn’t one city department know what another department was doing?”

“The investigation by reporter Tim Novak found that Rezko’s development company, Rezmar Corp., got more than $100 million in government and private loans between 1989 and 1998 to renovate 30 apartment buildings for poor people. The projects quickly ran into trouble, and Rezmar was sued repeatedly by the city. Yet the city continued making deal after deal with Rezmar, which was paid nearly $7 million in development fees on the projects.”

And,

“Another is presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, who received more than $50,000 from the same sources between 1998 and 2004. Obama already has been forced to answer questions about a real estate deal between him and Rezko, a longtime friend, contributor and fund-raiser. In addition to that connection, Novak reported this week that Obama did previously undisclosed legal work for some of Rezko’s housing development projects. He insists it was only five hours of work and that he was unaware of problems at the projects, even though 11 of them were in the state Senate district he used to represent. There’s nothing illegal about the work, but his efforts to dodge Novak’s questions about it make it appear as if he has something to hide.”

The Chicago Sun-Times is not the only one who smells a rat. The Chicago Daily Herald has already imagined how campaign advertisments on YouTube will expose Obama and his slumlord connections. The advertisment as devised by the Daily Herald’s Eric Krol, and excerpted below, explains in a very easy way Obama’s connection to slumlord and Co-Finance Chair Rezko:

“Meet Barack Obama. He bought a $1.65 million mansion. Meet his neighbor, Tony Rezko, indicted on major federal corruption charges that he traded his influence with a politician for kickbacks.”

“Senator Obama couldn’t quite afford both that house and the well-groomed vacant lot next door, so he persuaded the seller to give him a $300,000 discount on the house. But his savvy and sleazy real estate developer friend, Rezko, cheerily offered to pay full price for that empty lot. Now they’re neighbors.”

“Music turns dramatic, as does announcer’s tone. “Indicted pals. Insider real estate deals. Is this the type of politician you want to elect president?”

“Ethics is an evergreen issue, and it’s not much of a stretch to assume that the Clinton team, accustomed to throwing sharp political elbows, would point out that Obama, the Senate Democrats’ point person on ethics reform, has this little, um, issue with his magnificent new house.”

“The revelation of Obama’s unique home purchase and cozy business relationship with the indicted Rezko, broken by the Chicago Tribune just before last month’s election, was a huge disappointment to many opinion leaders in Illinois. They thought Obama was different, was above that kind of maneuvering with political insiders to reap a personal benefit.”

“To the average observer, it sure looks like Obama got a house he couldn’t afford had the owner listed it jointly with the adjacent vacant lot. That’s the kind of move that rankles your average voter, the ones Obama says are being forgotten — folks trying to juggle a mortgage, credit card debt and college as good-paying jobs are shipped overseas.”

“Obama has done his mea culpa, even as the echo of the year’s defining political question in Illinois — what’s (s)he thinking? —reverberates.”

“Luckily for Obama, so far that backlash hasn’t sprouted nationally, but you could reasonably assume it will at some point during the next year. The only thing the media love more than building someone up — and they have built up Obama to proportions even he has acknowledged to be ridiculous — is tearing someone down. See Dean, Howard, the brief flavor of ’04. For Dean, it was an infamous yell that did him in. For Obama, will it be his house deal?

The shady deal for the multimillion dollar house is even worse than columnist Eric Krol details. In fact, the $625,000 lot adjacent to Obama’s $1.65 million house is actually part of the house Obama purchased. Someone, convinced the sellers to split the house from the house’s yard. Then, Obama could buy his $1.65 million house and Rezko could on the very same day purchase the yard. Who that someone is and how this deal developed is yet to be fully explained — as are other questionable circumstances with Obama’s Campaign Finance Co-Chair.

We will continue to explore these questions and issues.

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