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Seven More Years In Prison For Blagojevich Adviser Tony Rezko

Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who was an adviser and fundraiser for convicted former Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and also raised money for then-state Sen. Barack Obama before Obama's election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, was sentenced today to serve seven more years in prison.

Rezko, as The Associated Press says, was convicted in 2008 on charges of "fraud, money laundering and plotting to squeeze $7 million in kickbacks from firms that wanted to do business with the state during Blagojevich's tenure." He has been in custody for about 3 1/2 years while awaiting sentencing. That sentencing was delayed while the cases against Blagojevich and several others were tried, even though Rezko was never called as a witness.

According to the Chicago Tribune, "Rezko's daughter broke down sobbing in the courtroom as U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve handed down the sentence."

The Chicago Sun-Times says "a pale, thin Rezko gave a brief statement before he learned his sentence, saying 'there are no words to describe the pain and regret,' he carries and the amount of suffering his family has endured. He apologized to the court and to his family."

Rezko's connection to Obama became an issue for a short time in the 2008 presidential campaign when it became known that Rezko's wife bought property next door to the Obama's and sold them "a sliver of the land," as USA Today's On Politics blog reported.

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Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.