Blagojevich fundraiser dodges prison time

Jul 18, 2012

Ali Ata donated $50,000 to Rod Blagojevich. In return he was appointed the executive director of the Illinois Finance Authority, a job that paid $125,000 a year.

Ata pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his relationship with the corrupt Blagojevich fundraiser and advisor Tony Rezko. But prosecutors say Ata began cooperating during Rezko's trial and ended up being a key witness.

On the stand Ata detailed a meeting where he gave Rezko a $25,000 contribution.

Then they walked into an office and Rezko put the donation on a table in front of Blagojevich and Blagojevich started talking about job options for Ata. Prosecutors asked Judge James Zagel to give Ata less time than the 12 to 18 months suggested by the sentencing guidelines.

Zagel gave Ata probation and ordered him to pay $150,000 in restitution and a $50,000 fine.