During her historic run for the presidency in 2008, former New York Senator and current Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton gushed over admitted swindler Norman Hsu's support of her presidential campaign and predicted she would win the race because he would "single-handedly...make that happen," according to an audio tape played in court Tuesday.
In the voicemail recording, played in Manhattan Federal Court, Clinton praises the Democratic fundraiser for his tireless work on her bid to become president.
"Norman! It's Hillary," the nearly one minute message begins. "What am I going to do with you Norman? You are working so hard for me, I don't know what to say anymore."
"I've never seen anybody who has been more loyal and more effective and really just having greater success supporting someone than you," Clinton said.
"Everywhere I go, you're there. If you're not, you're sending people to be part of my events. You know, we're going to win this campaign, Norman, because you single-handedly are going to make that happen," then Senator Clinton tells Hsu, who is accused of making illegal campaign contributions.
Clinton ends the message by playfully instructing Hsu to "get some sleep, slow down for a few minutes" before hanging up with a warm "lots of love, bye bye."
The admiring audio was the one of the first exhibits prosecutors played for jurors on the opening day of his trial to show that Hsu used his connections with powerful politicians to trick investors in a $20 million fraud.
Hsu is charged with making illegal campaign contributions by breaking rules limiting the amount any single individual or group can donate. Prosecutors said Hsu convinced doners to give thousands of dollars to major Democratic candidates with the promise that he would reimburse them.
Last week, Hsu, 58, pleaded guilty to the Ponzi scheme, copping to 10 counts of mail fraud and wire fraud.
Authorities said he pressured his victims to contribute to political candidates as a way to raise his public profile so he could attract more investors.
Hsu used investment money from his firm, Components Inc., to support his lifestyle as well as use the cash for political fund raising, investigators said.
Prosecutors also showed pictures of Hsu with famous politicians including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Investigators said the politicians did not know Hsu was a crook and they are not accused of any wrong doing.
Hsu's lawyer, Alan Seidler, tried to use that plea to cast his client, sitting in court in his blue prison uniform, in a more sympathetic light. Seidler said the campaign contributions were made willingly by investors eager to impress Hsu "because they were greedy and frankly dumb."
"These people were blinded by greed," Seidler told the jury.
After Hsu's 2007 arrest, Clinton returned more than $800,000 to donors whose contributions were linked to him.
He was accused of raising more than $1.2 million for Clinton and other Democratic candidates. His donations became an embarrassment for Clinton's presidential campaign.