Monday, April 28, 2008

How Do You Get the Media Interested in the Tony Rezko Trial? Mention Karl Rove

This is like that dog who keeps chasing his tail. He gets bored at the fruitlessness of it all after awhile and goes back to sleep. Of course he always wakes up having forgotten how silly he looked and proceeds to resume the pointless activity.

Today's installment of Rove Derangement Syndrome comes courtesy of Newsweek's Michael Isikoff. This should make for interesting conversation at Newsweek since Karl Rove is on the payroll over there. Maybe Isikoff is annoyed about that. Who knows, but this seems incredibily flimsy to run with.
The trial of Chicago developer and political fixer Antoin "Tony" Rezko has been closely watched for any mention of the defendant's onetime friend, Barack Obama. But last week, prosecutors threw a curveball, telling the judge that one of their witnesses is prepared to raise the name of another prominent Washington hand: Karl Rove. Former Illinois state official Ali Ata is expected to testify about a conversation he had with Rezko in which the developer alleged Rove was "working with" a top Illinois Republican to remove the Chicago U.S. attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald.

The allegation, which Rove denies, quickly reverberated in Washington. Democrats in Congress now want to question Ata. They believe he can help buttress their theory that Rove played a key role in discussions that led to the firings of U.S. attorneys at the Justice Department in 2006. The House Judiciary Committee "intends to investigate the facts and circumstances alleged in this testimony," panel chairman Rep. John Conyers of Michigan said in a statement to NEWSWEEK.
Not a shred of evidence to back up the claim, but let's throw it out there and see what sticks.
Investigators are intrigued by the timing of the alleged conversation about Fitzgerald. According to the Rezko prosecutors, it took place in November 2004—weeks after Fitzgerald had subpoenaed Rove to testify for the third time in another matter he was aggressively investigating, the Valerie Plame CIA leak case. A source familiar with Ata's testimony (who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters) said that Ata was meeting regularly with Rezko that fall. The two men shared a concern about Fitzgerald's ongoing probe of Illinois public officials. In one of those conversations, the developer allegedly told Ata that Bob Kjellander, a prominent GOP state lobbyist, was talking to Rove about getting rid of Fitzgerald. The reason: to "get a new U.S. attorney" who would not pursue the Illinois corruption probe, the source said. Ata, who has pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges and is now cooperating with the Feds, has no evidence that the conversation took place other than what Rezko allegedly told him, the source says.
No evidence, just allegations.

But that's all you need for Michael Isikoff.

Kjellander denies that he told Rezko anything of the kind. "I never had a discussion with Karl Rove or any other person on the White House staff" about firing Fitzgerald, said Kjellander, now a top GOP official in charge of this summer's convention. Rove's lawyer, Bob Luskin, told NEWSWEEK that Rove "does not recall" a conversation with Kjellander about Fitzgerald. He added that Rove "never talked to anybody in the White House about removing Fitzgerald."
The dog has awoken and is ready to chase his tail again.

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