Federal prosecutors said Tuesday they will not call one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, before a jury hearing a multimillion-dollar grand-fraud case because of “baseless accusations” they say Whitaker leveled the day before.

“We are not going to call Dr. Whitaker as a witness,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass told Judge Richard Mills, who ruled Monday that Whitaker would have been a “hostile witness” had prosecutors decided to call him.

Bass grilled Whitaker for more than two hours Monday without jurors present. Prosecutors had sought to declare him “hostile” because he’d stopped cooperating with them in 2012 after they asked him if he’d had a “personal relationship” with his former chief of staff, Quinshaunta Golden—who’s awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to theft and bribery charges—and also because they’d learned he’d frequently communicated with Chicago businessman Leon Dingle Jr., 77.

Dingle is on trial and accused of conspiring with his wife, Karin Dingle, 75, to siphon more than $3 million from no-bid state grants and contracts that began flowing to not-for-profit groups Leon Dingle controlled when Whitaker headed the Illinois Department of Public Health between 2003 and 2007.

Whitaker’s attorney, Henry E. Hockeimer, said he did not anticipate the Dingles would be calling Whitaker to the stand either. He didn’t comment further.

Related Practice

White Collar Defense / Internal Investigations