Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Did Federal Prosecutors Cover Up $400,000 Payment Rezko Made To Obama?

The former business partner of convicted Chicago political fixer Tony Rezko, who helped launch Barack Obama's career in Chicago politics, charges that he gave Rezko $400,000, which Rezko passed on to then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama according to a Chicago blog, Illinois Pay To Play. The claims are based on a high profile FBI informant, Robert Cooley, a former Chicago mob lawyer, who the FBI used to help prosecute scores of corrupt Chicago pols. Cooley was the government's star witness in cases that led to the successful prosecution of a powerful Chicago alderman, a chief judge in Cook County, the Assistant Majority Leader of the Illinois Senate and the only federal judge in the history of the U.S. to be convicted of fixing a murder trial.

Cooley's shocking claim is based on e-mails and conversations he has had with Daniel Frawley, the former business partner of Rezko. Frawley had been engaged in discussions with Cooley concerning collaboration on a book about Chicago political corruption. Frawley agreed to wear a wire during U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of Rezko. During the two years that Frawley aided federal prosecutors in its investigation, he allegedly informed them that he had been giving money to Rezko that was being passed on to Obama. In a May 31, 2011 e-mail to Cooley, Frawley discusses going public about his allegations that Obama received at least $400,000 from Rezko:

From: Dan Frawley (address deleted)
Date: Tue, 31 May 2011 08:08:15 -0500
Subject: Frawely [sic] vs Weaver
To: Robert XXXXX (Cooley address deleted)

Hi Bob
I think the best way to bring this to the public and media is to fact plead the malpractice case against Weaver.

I have discussed this with my attorney's and they are willing to do it at the right time and way. Instead of a news conference being called like the gay guy did with Obama.


I would bring this out in the for [sic] of a legal action not a personal vendetta. The media with the right reporters would make sure that was national news. When the usual denials are made or the old I don't remember I hit him with the second naming names dates and places.

Punches are always more effective when thrown in combination. know [sic] we figure out the best timing.


Cooley confirmed to the publication that "you know who" in the e-mail is a reference to Obama. Frawley is also referencing in the e-mail the press conference Larry Sinclair held to discuss his allegations that he had sex and did cocaine with Obama in the back of a Chicago limousine while Obama was still serving in the Illinois Senate. Frawley says he wants to go public "at the right time and way" and "not like the gay guy did with Obama." Frawley, according to Cooley, claims he was repeatedly told by the feds to keep quite about the money he had given to Rezko to give to Obama during the two years he was wearing a wire to help them in their investigation of Rezko.

Frawley's allegations concerning money Rezko gave to Obama first surfaced during a December, 2010 deposition he gave during a legal malpractice case he brought against his former attorney, George Weaver, who he alleges was not representing his best interests. Frawley said that Weaver had interrupted a telephone conversation he was having with Rezko while he was wired up by the feds to instruct him to end the conversation and withhold certain information. Frawley was asked to confirm in the deposition if the information his attorney wanted him to withhold pertained to the payments Rezko made to Obama. Frawley declined to answer the question based on advice given to him by the attorney representing him at the deposition.

Interestingly, two months after Frawley was deposed in that case, the federal prosecutors with whom he had been cooperating charged him with bank fraud, even though the statute of limitations for the crime had passed. Frawley pleaded guilty to the charge in February, 20111 and agreed to pay $4 million in restitution. Cooley tells Illinois Pay To Play that the feds also instructed another FBI informant, Bernard Barton (a/k/a John Thomas), not to tape any conversations concerning Obama. The publication wonders if the feds didn't punish Frawley to keep him quiet about the explosive allegations of Obama taking money from Rezko. Cooley claims he had face to face meetings with Frawley where he told him that he gave more than $1 million to Rezko, who told him that he needed the money to help Obama.

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