Obama contributor Ali Ata to be sentenced June 14, 2012, Tony Rezko trial witness, Ata donated $5000 to Obama, Straw donations to Obama, IFA job
“Ata also donated $5,000 to Obama’s campaign in 2003 and Rezko asked Ata to make straw donation to Obama’s campaign for $10,000″…Tony Rezko trial
“Why was Tony Rezko’s sentencing delayed?”…Citizen Wells
“Why did Patrick Fitzgerald and the US Justice Department wait until December 2008 to arrest Rod Blagojevich?”…Citizen Wells
“There is enough corruption in Illinois so that all it takes is someone who is serious about finding it to uncover it. If a U.S. attorney is not finding corruption in Illinois, they’re not seriously looking for it.”…Northwestern Law Professor James Lindgren
The ghosts of Obama’s Christmas Past keep appearing.
Ali Ata, a key witness at the Tony Rezko trial and contributor to Barack Obama is scheduled to be sentenced next Thursday, June 14, 2012, in the courtroom of Judge James Zagel.
Thursday, June 14, 2012 (As of 06/09/12 at 06:48:07 AM )
Honorable James B. Zagel Courtroom 2503 (JBZ)
1:06-cr-00729 USA v. Ata 01:30 Sentencing
From the Tony Rezko trial.
“The witness some refer to as the government’s secret weapon — Ali Ata — is now on the stand.
Ata was very close with Tony Rezko, visiting Rezko’s Chicago office at least once a week to discuss business. Ata recently pleaded guilty to charges of tax fraud and lying to FBI agents about Rezko’s influence. Today Ata is testifying about his relationship with Rezko.
Born and raised in Jordan, Ata, 56, moved to the U.S. in 1970 to go to college at UIC in Chicago. Ata first became friends with Rezko after Ata was let go from his job as a chemical engineer in 2001. Ata testified that a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks FBI agents visited him at his work to question him. Ata shares the same last name as one of the 9/11 hijackers. Two weeks after the FBI’s visit, Ata’s employer offered him an early retirement package. Ata called it “devastating.”
As part of his plea agreement, Ata has agreed to testify against Rezko in exchange for a lighter prison sentence of 12-18 months (The maximum sentence was eight years).
Ata says in 2002 he donated $50,000 to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign. In return Tony Rezko secured Ata a position as the head of the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA). Between 2003-2004 Ata says he contributed $125,000 to Blagojevich’s campaign based on requests from Rezko.
Ata also donated $5,000 to Obama’s campaign in 2003 and Rezko asked Ata to make straw donation to Obama’s campaign for $10,000, he said. The Democratic presidential candidate has donated Rezko-related contributions to charity.
Ata says Rezko was part of the “kitchen cabinet” of close advisers to the governor and had an extreme amount of political influence. At a fundraiser for Blagojevich, Ata says the governor thanked him for his support and contributions and then told him that Ata’s new state job at IFA “would be a job where I (Ata) could make some money.”
A source close to the trial says Ata’s testimony will be the “nail in the coffin” for the jury to convict Rezko on charges of fraud, money laundering and attempted extortion.”
“Government witness, Ali Ata explained during his testimony how an Illinois GOP operative, Bob Kjellander, and Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief adviser, were believed to be plotting to get U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald removed from office.
Ata said during a meeting with Tony Rezko (in 2004), Rezko told him,” Mr. Kjellander and Karl Rove would make the change in the U.S. Attorney’s Office” (after the 2004 Presidential election) to replace Fitzgerald. Kjellander and Karl Rove are long time friends, and the two went to college together.
During 2004 Rezko was aware that several of his business associates were under investigation by the FBI for various reasons. Rezko told Ali Ata “those who cooperate with the government would be dealt with.” (Implying that when the new U.S. attorney —replacing Fitzgerald— took office “those who cooperate” would be dealt with)
Ata says Rezko also asked him for a campaign contribution to Sen. (John) Kerry’s presidential campaign and said “regardless who wins the (presidential) election, there will be a change in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.” (referring to Fitzgerald)
The 2004 election came and went and U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald didn’t go anywhere. Ata says the last time he spoke to Rezko was at a wedding in 2006. At the wedding Ata says Rezko told him “the plan will turn out just fine once the new U.S. Attorney gets into office.” (Implying Rezko still believed someone would pull the strings to have Fitzgerald replaced, there was no mention of who may replace Fitzgerald)
FOX News recently spoke to Karl Rove’s attorney about this claim. He maintains Rove does not recall speaking with Bob Kjellander about anything related to Fitzgerald’s position as U.S. attorney.
He says Rove never had discussions with anyone at the Department of Justice or the White House regarding Fitzgerald’s position.”
“Tony Rezko’s defense attorney, Joe Duffy, repeatedly attacked a key government witness, Ali Ata, over his testimony. Ata has pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to the FBI, (to protect Rezko) in a separate federal corruption case involving Rezko. Last week, Ata entered a plea deal with the government agreeing to testify against Rezko, in his current trial, in exchange for a lighter prison sentence. (12-18 months)
Ata’s connection to Barack Obama: Records show Ata donated, $5,000 to Barack Obama’s campaign for U.S. Senate in 2003. Rezko also asked Ata to make a $10,000 straw donation to Obama on Rezko’s behalf (for his Senate campaign).
Today, Duffy took a low blow at Ata when he cross examined him about the days following the Sept. 11 attacks when FBI agents came to Ata’s workplace to question him. Ata has a similar last name to one of the Sept. 11 hijackers. Duffy asked Ata, “I assume you had nothing to do with that?” Ata abruptly responded, “Come on! Let’s not go there.” Duffy apologized and said, “I’m sorry. I won’t go there.”
Ata testified he wanted a job with the state of Illinois — not for the $127,000/year salary — but as a way to redeem himself in Chicago’s Arab community after he had been forced into taking an early retirement from his prestigious chemical enginnering job after Sept. 11.
Duffy also challenged Ata’s testimony regarding what Rezko told him about Karl Rove and an Illinois GOP operative, Robert Kjellander, plotting to replace Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Duffy asked Ata, “you believe Tony Rezko could actually influence President Bush?” Ata, replied, “No.” Duffy followed by saying, “Well, the president chooses the U.S. attorney, right?” Ata replied, “Yes.”
“So you’re suggesting that Mr. Rezko had the influence and power to influence the president?” Ata replied, “Tony Rezko informed me that Bob Kjellander was working with Karl Rove to change the U.S. attorney in Chicago.” Karl Rove’s attorney denies this claim.
In 2002 Ata donated $50,000 to Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s campaign — in return Rezko secured Ata a position as the head of the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA). Between 2003 and 2004 Ata says he contributed $125,000 to Blagojevich’s campaign based on requests from Rezko. Ata says Rezko was part of the “kitchen cabinet” of close advisers to the governor who had an extreme amount of political influence.
Duffy is trying to show the jury that Ata did not need Rezko to influence anyone — in order to secure at state agency position for Ata.
Ata said he has known Blagojevich and his family for 20 years… well before Ata met Rezko, implying he had a strong relationship with Blagojevich before he became governor and before Rezko entered the picture.”
Ali Ata plea agreement.