Jailed political fundraiser Tony Rezko's sentencing for corruption was delayed indefinitely Tuesday, most likely adding to the legal problems of embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The sentencing date of Jan. 6 was erased by U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve. The action appeared to signal that Rezko's on-again, off-again relationship with the federal prosecutors investigating Illinois government was on again.
Both federal spokesman Randall Samborn and Rezko's chief defense counsel, Joseph Duffy, declined to comment after the hearing. Duffy responded to a blizzard of questions by saying, "Merry Christmas, everybody."
Major adviser to Blagojevich
Rezko was a major adviser to Blagojevich and raised more than $1 million for his campaign fund. He started talking to federal prosecutors last summer, a few weeks after he was convicted of fraud, money laundering and bribery-related counts in June.
Then he stopped talking and demanded to be sentenced as soon as possible. Now that January date is canceled.
When Blagojevich was arrested last week, authorities said in court documents that Rezko had supplied information to investigators. But the affidavit said that some of it clashed with what other witnesses had said.
Among other things, Blagojevich is accused of scheming to sell or trade the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama. Rezko, a millionaire businessman, was convicted of using clout with the governor's office to launch a $7 million scheme to squeeze payoffs out of a construction contractor and money management firms seeking state business.
News stories about Rezko's trial had put a spotlight on then-candidate Obama, who tried to distance himself from Rezko and sent $150,000 in Rezko-related contributions to charity. All of those contributions were to Obama's state legislative and U.S. House and Senate campaigns — not his presidential race. Obama also had to answer questions about an unrelated 2006 real estate deal with Rezko that Obama now calls a mistake.