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Judge scolds City of Chicago attorneys in alleged cop abuse case

Attorney Jeffrey Granich is accusing city attorneys of trying to avoid turning over documents that a judge has told them to provide in a police misconduct lawsuit. | Sun-Times file photo

A federal judge Friday accused City Hall lawyers of “inexcusable” behavior in the case of a woman suing a Chicago cop with an alleged history of violence.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox lost her patience several times during a hearing at the Dirksen Federal Building, as the lawyers said they were unclear what materials, specifically, they need to provide to the woman’s attorneys in the lead up to the trial.

Cox said she thought she’d made it crystal clear in a previous written order, but then added: “I see I have spectacularly failed.”

The lawsuit against the city and three officers was filed by Elaina Turner, who allegedly suffered a miscarriage after being tasered by a Chicago police officer three times in 2013.

Lawyers for Turner have accused City Hall attorneys of playing “word games” in the fight over discovery, the court term for the pretrial exchange of documents between lawyers on both sides of a case.

On Friday, when City Hall lawyers said they didn’t think Turner’s attorneys were seeking “investigative reports” connected to the case, Cox asked one of Turner’s attorney’s, Jeffrey Granich, to point to a specific line indicating that in his request.

After Granich pointed to the request, a City Hall lawyer objected.

“He just read it into the record,” Cox snapped. “Why are we still quibbling over this?”

City Hall attorneys have requested until July 22 to comply with the judge’s order to gather the requested material to be turned over to Turner’s attorneys. Cox didn’t object Friday.

Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey said in a statement: “The city is complying with the judge’s order to certify that we have produced all materials regarding Officer Kelly that plaintiffs requested in discovery. The judge clarified that we need to produce all documents that have been requested and provide a list of all documents to which we object and have withheld.”

Granich has said he had been repeatedly assured that he had received all records regarding the Chicago cop in question, only to find out that the officer had been involved in a fatal shooting in 2014.