Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rezko pleads guilty, will testify against Blagojevich in retrial

CHICAGO (WLS) - Antoine "Tony" Rezko has plead guilty to a 2006 charge of defrauding GE Capitol out of $10 million in loans for Rezko Enterprises and his Papa John's Pizza restaurants.

The one-time confidant of Rod Blagojevich appeared in federal court Friday before Judge James B. Zagel wearing a federal prison uniform and leg shackels.

Rezko has been imprisoned at an undisclosed Wisconsin county jail since June 2008 on charges stemming from his association with the former Illinois governor.

He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Federal prosecutors are expected to drop the additional counts against Rezko in exchange for his guilty plea.

Rezko appeared frail and was soft spoken during his court appearance. Leaving the courtroom, he smiled and waved to the approximately 10 members of his family who attended.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 17 at 2 p.m.

Rezko attorney Joe Duffy said his client is "ready, willing, and able" to appear at Blagojevich's retrial and declared his testimony against the former governor and his wife Patti will be "formidable."

Blagojevich threw Rezko under the bus in 2006.

"He betrayed my trust. He lied to me. He deceived me," Blagojevich said.

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