Criminal Justice

Jurors Discounted Star Witness, But Convicted Rezko on Other Evidence

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Attorney Stuart Levine was the star witness in the federal political corruption trial of Antoin “Tony” Rezko. But jurors reportedly discounted the testimony of a man portrayed by defense lawyers as a con artist and by himself as someone who for a time lived life in the fast lane.

However, they convicted Rezko nonetheless of 16 charges related to alleged scheming with Levine to extract bribes and kickbacks from companies seeking to do business with Illinois government when other evidence supported Levine’s testimony, recounts the Chicago Tribune. Rezko was acquitted on 8 other charges.

The newspaper says jurors also role-played, reading the trial transcript aloud, and organized the case visually with sticky notes during deliberations.

“We had to piece this puzzle together,” says juror Susan Lopez, a school administrator.

Also apparently helping jurors reach a verdict was a lack of major dissension. “We never got to the point where people were shouting,” juror Randall Franz, a mail carrier, tells the Chicago Sun-Times, although “people would voice their opinion with some emotion behind it.”

Additional coverage:

Chicago Tribune: “Rezko’s Guilty. Who’s Next?”

Chicago Sun-Times: ” The Rezko verdict: Guilty”

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