Verdict Brings Unwanted Friend to Obama Victory Party

While the Rezko verdict may bring some turbulence for Obama, said Illinois political observers, it is likely to more troublesome to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose involvement with Rezko was a constant theme in the trial. "This trial wasn't about Obama-Rezko, it was about Rezko-Blagojevich," said Jay Stewart of the Illinois-based Better Government Association.

But Cindy Canary of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform said any taint from ties to a figure like Rezko is part of being a politician from Chicago.

Obama has suffered not only from his connection to Rezko but also to Chicago-area Revs. Jeremiah Wright and Michael Pfleger, whose controversial comments have caused the candidate several bouts of heartburn, she noted. "They are colorful, sometimes troublesome Chicago characters, but they are part and parcel of the Chicago political culture," she said. "I'm not sure Sen. Obama or anybody out of this town could completely escape that."

After the jury returned its verdict Wednesday afternoon, Rezko surrendered to begin serving time immediately. He is slated to be sentenced Sept. 3.

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