Obama Friend Whitaker Won't Testify in Fraud Trial

The Chicago medical executive hasn't been charged with wrongdoing, but prosecutors have said he hasn't fully cooperated.
Photographer: Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Eric Whitaker, one of President Barack Obama's closest friends, won't be called to testify as a hostile witness in an Illinois fraud trial.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday from Springfield, Ill., that prosecutors have decided against calling Whitaker,  a day after they persuaded a federal judge to categorize him as a hostile witness.

Marj Halperin, a Whitaker spokeswoman, had no comment on the decision. In a statement issued late last week, she said: "Dr. Whitaker is not a party to this case, but he has been cooperative."

Whitaker is a friend from the Obamas' Chicago days. The two golf together and Whitaker's family has joined the Obamas on Christmas-season vacations to Hawaii.

The Chicago medical executive hasn't been charged with wrongdoing, but prosecutors have said he hasn't fully cooperated with them. 

The case involves Leon Dingle Jr. and his wife, Karin Dingle, accused of stealing more than $3 million in state grants obtained from the Illinois Department of Public Health, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Whitaker ran the department from 2003 to 2007. While in the job, Whitaker oversaw the awarding of about $4 million in health-related grants and contracts to Dingle, who received an additional $7 million in taxpayer cash from Whitaker’s successor. 

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