Joseph Armanda Testifies That Rod Blagojevich and Partners would Share in Cash from Illegal Deal

A second witness -- who is on the stand under a letter of immunity -- testified that Tony Rezko told him Rod Blagojevich, while he was governor, was involved in a deal with Rezko where fees would be split between himself and his "inner circle."

Rezko proposed that Aramanda would act as an intermediary with the Teachers Retirement Systems and receive fees from TRS investments with different firms, according to court records.

How much money was involved and where did it all go? That was the focus of testimony this morning, at Rod Blagojevich's corruption trial.

Joseph Aramanda was back on the stand, to talk about financial dealings with convicted fundraiser Tony Rezko. Aramanda testified that he was shocked by an offer from Rezko to be paid just $250,000 salary for a business plan that he thought had the possiblity to net millions. Aramanda claims Rezko told him the reason for the lower amount is because the money would actually be split by several people, including the former Governor.

Joe Aramanda testified on Wednesday that Rezko told him of plans to kick back tens of millions of dollars in fees from the Teachers’ Retirement System to Blagojevich, Lon Monk and fundraiser Chris Kelly in 2004.

Aramanda is the first prosecution witness to affirm star witness Monk’s claim that Blagojevich was in cahoots with Rezko.

The name of President Obama came into play this afternoon at the political corruption trial of former governor Rod Blagojevich as an associate of political fund-raiser Tony Rezko testified that Rezko asked him to write a $10,000 check to Friends of Obama.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported in January 2008 that Glenview businessman Joseph Aramanda, who is testifying today, made the donation as part of a scheme orchestrated by Rezko.

Aramanda gave $10,000 in campaign cash to Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign on March 5, 2004, according to records. The money came from part of a finder’s fee Aramanda received, but did no work for, thanks to Rezko.

The allegation is the first time Obama has been linked to Rezko through first-hand sworn testimony at the corruption trial.