Rezko rains on Obama's parade

The guilty verdict in the trial of former Obama fundraiser Tony Rezko interrupts what the presumptive nominee's campaign no doubt hoped would be a uniformly positive news cycle.


Alex Koppelman
June 5, 2008 1:15AM (UTC)

Normally, when you clinch your party's presidential nomination after an unusually tough, prolonged primary fight, you'd hope to be able to get at least one or two purely positive news cycles out of it. Apparently, fate has other plans for Barack Obama.

The jury in the federal trial of Antoin "Tony" Rezko, a Chicago businessman who was once an influential political fundraiser, had been deliberating for parts of 13 days. Then, of the all days they could have finally reached a consensus, today was the one. The verdict was read in the courtroom on Wednesday afternoon, and Rezko was found guilty on 16 of the 24 counts against him.

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Among many other people for whom Rezko raised money, the one with whom he's been most prominently linked recently is Obama. And Rezko wasn't just a fundraiser for Obama; as Edward McClelland has previously detailed in Salon, an apparent deal with Rezko helped Obama and his family buy their current home.

There's no suggestion of illegality on Obama's part, even after this verdict, and at this point there's no reason to believe it'll seriously impact his candidacy. But a verdict like this, coming down just in time to make the evening news, is not the way anyone would want to kick off their general election campaign.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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