Rezko Played Bigger Role, Obama Says

An indicted Chicago businessman and political operator played a much bigger fundraising role in Barack Obama's political career than the White House hopeful had previously disclosed, the candidate tells the Chicago Tribune for an exclusive story late Friday afternoon.

Antoin "Tony" Rezko, on trial for corruption, raised roughly $250,000 for Obama -- more than $100,000 more than had been previously discovered by enterprising reporters.

Obama also admitted that he made repeated lapses in judgement by involving Rezko in a complex house purchase, the paper reports.

The candidate insisted that despite Rezko's efforts to help him, the politically savvy businessman expected no favors from him, the paper says.  "No, precisely because I'd known him for [many] years and he hadn't asked me for favors," it quotes Obama as saying.

Obama and his campaign have repeatedly insisted they have answered all queries regarding his relationship with Rezko, but "his campaign's piecemeal written statements have left lingering uncertainties about whether the up-and-coming senator exchanged favors with the target of a federal probe," the Tribune notes.

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