President Obama's 'best friend,' golfing buddy, reputed political fixer and frequent White House visitor is in legal trouble for stonewalling prosecutors in a case involving bribery, mail fraud and money laundering going back to his time as Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Dr. Eric E. Whitaker has been declared a hostile (or uncooperative) witness in connection to one of his underlings plundering an Illinois health fund by buying vacation homes, concert tickets and other personal luxury items with taxpayer money. Politicians living large on taxpayer money? Seems familiar.
In 2004, then Senator Obama coaxed his friend Tony Rezko, who was then-Governor (now-prisoner) Rod Blegojevich's fixer, into giving Whitaker the top state public health job. The Chicago Sun Times reported:
Whitaker served as the state’s director of public health from 2003-2007, but his time in the post was not without controversy: Whitaker oversaw a state board responsible for approving medical construction projects, which Rezko utilized to facilitate political kickbacks, according to testimony delivered during Rezko’s trial.
In the book The Amateur, Whitaker is described as the bag man who paid off Rev. Jeremiah Wright to shut up until after the 2008 election, and provided a buffer between then-Senator Obama and Rezko - the man who gave Obama a sweet deal on a lot next door to his Hyde Park home. Rezko is now doing time in Illinois state prison for fraud and bribery.
Another Whitaker aide, with whom he is reported by prosecutors to have had a sexual relationship, has already pleaded guilty in a related case for ripping taxpayers off for $400,000.
As a hostile witness, Whitaker may be compelled to spill what he knows in front of a judge. That certainly would be entertaining -in the unlikely event that the truth ever did came out about what he knows and about whom.