Rezko gets antsy on sentencing

Chicago Tribune:

Antoin "Tony" Rezko's frustration over months in solitary confinement came to a boil this week as his attorneys filed a motion for the judge in his corruption case to immediately set a sentencing date for the convicted political fundraiser.

Sentencing had been put off in early October while Rezko's lawyers and prosecutors discussed his potential cooperation in the federal investigation into possible pay-to-play schemes in the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Despite his possible willingness to aid the government, Rezko has remained in isolation at Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center downtown, locked in a cell 23 hours a day.

"Mr. Rezko has remained in solitary confinement at the MCC since June 4, 2008, the day of the jury's verdict, and can no longer agree to delay sentencing," the new motion states, asking U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve to set the earliest possible date to hand down Rezko's punishment.

The motion raises questions about the status of talks between Rezko and the government and casts doubt on whether the sides ever will reach an agreement that would make Rezko a witness at future political corruption trials. But the motion is not necessarily thought to be a death knell for negotiations, sources said.

Prosecutors have not stepped in to ask St. Eve to recommend that Rezko be made more comfortable. The U.S. attorney's office, which has been known to make suggestions about an inmate's incarceration if safety is an issue, has declined to comment on Rezko's condition.

A correctional center spokesman has said Rezko remains in the Special Housing Unit for administrative reasons, including ensuring his security and safety and that of the institution.

While the negotiations are on going I can see why the government would want to segregate him from the rest of the prison population where he might be subjected to intimidation. I suspect he is trying to get the government to hurry up and make a decision on what they think his testimony is worth. His problem may be that by hurrying them it becomes worth less. Since all the time he is now doing will go toward whatever his eventual sentence happens to be, he is probably better off remaining calm and working for a deal.


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