August 2, 2010 -- Fitzgerald's ploy in Rezko and Blagojevich trials was to avoid "the color purple"
After US Judge James Zagel repeatedly ruled against the calling or even mentioning of key defense witnesses and the playing in court of a significant portion of government wiretapped communications in the federal corruption trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the case brought about by U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald, one of the most corrupt federal prosecutors in the United States, is now before the jury. During the trial, Zagel, a Ronald Reagan nominee, upheld almost every objection by the prosecution of defense questions as either irrelevant or argumentative, a clear indication that Fitzgerald, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner and other members of his team were successful in their "judge shopping" for a tainted jurist. On its second day of deliberations, the jury requested a transcript of a segment of the trial from Zagel. In yet another unusual move, Zagel turned down the jury's request.
Zagel was adamant in not having sitting Democratic politicians aligned with Obama and his chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel brought up during the trial by the defense. Off limits were President Obama, his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, Obama advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, and powerful Illinois House speaker Michael Madigan. Plans by the defense to call Obama, Emanuel, and Jarrett were stymied by Fitzgerald and the White House. If convicted, Blagojevich could face as much as 415 years in prison.
The final days of the court room proceedings saw Zagel threaten Blagojevich's defense attorney Sam Adam, Sr. with conempt if he dared mentioned the names Antoin "Tony" Rezko or Stuart Levine to the jury. Rezko and Levine were two powerful Chicago businessmen who lavished huge sums of money and favors on Illinois politicians, including Obama and Blagojevich. In the trial of Rezko and Levine, the government argued that in return for political contributions and favors, Blagojevich and his associates attempted to steer state pension funds and other state money to interests in which they had a financial interests. Levine, a Republican, had been appointed to the Illinois Teacher's Retirement System and Illinois Hospital Facilities Planning Boards by Blagojevich and his predecessor, Governor George Ryan, also convicted and jailed as a result of Fitzgerald's prosecution.
The government's investigation of Levine and Rezko was code-named Operation Board Games by the FBI. The investigation also involved Blagojevich's campaign fundraiser Christopher Kelly and Blagojevich's first term chief of staff Alonzo "Lon" Monk. Monk was portrayed as someone who was willing to lie for the prosecutors in return for a prison sentence of two years as opposed to a maximum of twenty years. Kelly, died from what was determined to be a drug overdose last September. Even though Kelly had been stabilized at Oak Forest Hospital, he died after being transferred to Stoger Hospital in Chicago. Among the last people who saw Kelly before he died were reportedly a police officer and an unidentified "grey-haired man." Kelly was to be called as a witness in the Blagojevich trial by the prosecution.
First identified as potential witnesses for the prosecution, and then for the defense, neither Rezko nor Levine were called as witnesses during the trial. WMR has learned that to call either Rezko and/or Levine would have potentially exposed the jurors to the importance of the Purple Hotel in the overall discussion of Chicago's seamier political scene. The Purple Hotel, which is now closed and slated for demolition, was a one-time meeting place for men-only drug and sex parties in suburban Lincolnwood. WMR has learned that the Purple Hotel weekday afternoon parties were attended by Rezko, Levine, and Obama. The Purple Hotel had previously been connected to the murder of Teamsters pension fund mobster Allen Dorfman, who was gunned down in the parking lot of the Purple Hotel in 1983. Dorfman's killers were never identified.
Although Fitzgerald originally planned to call Rezko, who has been held in solitary confinement in the Chicago metropolitan detention facility since June 2008 pending assignment to a federal prison, and Levine as witnesses for the prosecution against Blagojevich, he suddenly changed his plans. Blagojevich's team rested their case without calling any witnesses, including Rezko and Levine.
On April 1, 2008, the Chicago Sun-Times reported on the day-long parties at the 293-room Purple Hotel: "Daylong, drug-fueled parties at the Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood and sometimes in Springfield. Snorting crystal meth and 'Special K.' Stuart Levine, the star witness at businessman and political fund-raiser Tony Rezko's corruption trial, told jurors Monday the drugs would make him 'euphoric' and lower his inhibitions as he partied all night with five other men. 'I would stay out all night,' said Levine, testifying that he hid his behavior in order to deceive my family.'"
Purple Hotel at the corner of Touhy and Lincoln, and just off Interstate 94, in Lincolnwood, was reportedly the scene of gay sex and drug parties attended by Obama and two potential key Blagojevich trial witnesses -- Rezko and Levine -- whose testimony was suppressed by Fitzgerald's prosecution team and Judge James Zagel.
An informed source has told WMR that the Purple Hotel parties not only involved drug use but gay sex, adding that crystal meth and ketamine, or Special K, are frequently used by gays while engaged in sexual trysts. And, in what could be a bombshell that would throw into question Zagel's impartiality in trying Blagojevich, there are reports that male members of the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois, the court that is trying Blagojevich, may have been in attendance at the Purple Hotel gay sex and drug parties. Once a prime spot for wedding receptions and bar mitzvahs, the Purple Hotel quickly went to seed and there were complaints of mold and other unsanitary conditions in the hotel. The property is currently at the center of a legal battle between the village of Lincolnwood and the hotel's owner, Donald Bae, the owner of Village Resorts, Inc., to repair the hotel or demolish it.
During Rezko's trial presided over by U.S. Judge Amy St. Eve, Fitzgerald's team was keen on not tying Obama, then a candidate for president who was locked in a tight race with Hillary Clinton, to the Purple Hotel parties attended by Levine and Rezko at the Purple Hotel. St. Eve was nominated for the federal bench by George W. Bush in March 2002.
St. Eve was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois until 2001. Prior to that stint, St. Eve was the Associate independent counsel for the Whitewater Independent Counsel's Office in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she worked for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and helped to investigate President Bill Clinton and prosecute former Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker. Fitzgerald became U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois ion October 24, 2001. President Obama decided to keep Fitzgerald, a George W. Bush appointee, in his present office.
Previously, WMR reported that Obama and Emanuel were members of Man's Country, a gay bath house in uptown Chicago.