updated 5/5/2008 7:14:40 PM ET 2008-05-05T23:14:40

Less than two hours after prosecutors rested their case Monday in political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko's marathon fraud trial, defense attorneys did the same without calling a single witness.

It is not unusual for the defense portion of a major criminal trial to be fairly short, though attorneys often call at least a few witnesses.

"We do not believe the government has met their burden in proving the charges against Mr. Rezko," chief defense counsel Joseph J. Duffy told reporters after federal court jurors were sent home until next week.

Closing arguments are set to get under way on May 12. Attorneys plan to spend the rest of this week fashioning verdict forms and the instructions that U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve will give to the jury.

The trial, which started March 3, has been closely watched because Rezko, a Chicago real estate developer and fast-food entrepreneur, has been a fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

But the Illinois senator was rarely mentioned in testimony and no one has said the evidence suggested even the slightest wrongdoing on Obama's part.

Rezko, 52, is charged with scheming with attorney Stuart P. Levine to split a $1.5 million bribe from a contractor who wanted to build a hospital in the McHenry County suburb of Crystal Lake.

Rezko also is charged with scheming with Levine to pressure kickbacks out of money management firms seeking to invest assets of the $40 billion fund that pays the pensions of retired downstate and suburban teachers.

Prosecutors say it was Rezko's prolific fundraising for Gov. Rod Blagojevich that gave him sufficient clout to manipulate such decisions on state boards from behind the scenes. Rezko denies he took part in such a scheme.

Blagojevich has not been charged with wrongdoing, but the trial has badly smudged his political image.

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