U.S. rests in Zimbabwe lobbying trial: Roland Burris not called

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Former U.S. Sen. Roland Burris won’t testify in the trial of a Chicagoan accused of illegally lobbying for ZImbabwean President Robert Mugabe, after all.

Prosecutors had indicated Burris would be a star witness against C. Greg Turner.

But they rested their case Monday without calling him.

Lawyers for Turner had hoped to quiz Burris about an alleged shake down of a businessman. They last week pointed to the 2012 grand jury testimony of Gerald W. Lombardi, who they said alleged Burris had tried to secure a $250,000 a year job in return for sending government business Lombardi’s way.

Burris, who was never charged with any crime, has not responded to calls seeking comment on the allegation. Prosecutors said last week that they had discussed the allegations with Burris while preparing for Turner’s trial.

They indicated at the time that they planned to call Burris to testify on Monday, but later decided against it. 

It isn’t the first time the trial has failed to live up to is billing. Turner’s attorneys last week were forced to walk back corruption allegations they’d made against State Sen. Donne Trotter, which they admitted they had “no good faith basis” to make.

Trotter testified for the government last week.

Closing arguments in Turner’s trial are scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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