Jury Will See Mansion of Obama Supporter Rezko

Rezko held fundraising events at his Wilmette mansion, including one for Obama.


Feb. 28, 2008— -- With the corruption trial of a longtime friend and supporter of Sen. Barack Obama set to begin next week in Chicago, the judge ruled today that federal prosecutors will be able to show the jury photos of Tony Rezko's suburban mansion because they are evidence of "events that occurred" there and of his "opulent lifestyle."

Rezko, charged in a scheme to bribe and corrupt Illinois officials, held numerous fundraising events at his Wilmette mansion, including one for the 2004 senate campaign of Obama that raised more than $60,000.

Obama is not considered a target of the federal corruption investigation, and his campaign staff says any contribution tied to Rezko has since been donated to charity.

In her ruling, Judge Amy St. Eve rejected Rezko's argument that showing the photos of his home "will generate additional media attention" and "add unnecessary stress and anxiety for the family during an already difficult time."

The ruling indicated that witnesses will testify about events that took place at Rezko's home, but it does not indicate whether the Obama fundraiser, held in June 2003, would be one of the events.

Several of Rezko's associates, also figure in the investigation, attended and contributed to Obama.

An earlier motion by prosecutors detailed two instances in which Rezko directed others to make campaign contributions to "a political candidate" who has since been identified by Chicago papers as Obama.

In her ruling the judge said she doubted the photo "will generate any more publicity than this highly publicized case has already received."

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