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Former Ald. Cochran is getting off easy with a prison sentence of one year and a day

As part of the team that investigated Cochran, I was disgusted to hear him complain. He was lucky the feds let him plea bargain down.

Former Ald. Willie Cochran Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

When former Ald. Willie B. Cochran pleaded guilty to fraud charges back in March, the U.S. attorney’s office noted in a press release that “the FBI initiated the investigation after receiving information from the former City of Chicago Legislative Inspector General.”

The original federal indictment charged Cochran with 11 counts of wire fraud and two counts each of federal program bribery and extortion. If convicted of the most serious charge, wire fraud, Cochran could have been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

Instead of going to trial, Cochran pleaded to a charge of wire fraud for misusing his ward’s phony charity funds to pay for gambling and other personal expenses. As part of the plea deal, federal prosecutors dropped 14 of the 15 counts against Cochran, including the most serious charges, which alleged that the alderman shook down businessmen in his 20th Ward.

As a former assistant legislative inspector general, who was part of the team that investigated Cochran, I was disgusted to hear Cochran complain after his sentencing on Monday that the sentenced he received — 12 months and a day — was unfair because he “only stole $14,000.” He was lucky that the feds let him plea bargain down to only one count.

If one added up all the time that members of the office of the legislative inspector general, agents of the FBI and the U.S. attorney spent on this case, I guarantee you it was more than one year and a day.

We are the ones who should feel the sentence was unfair, because it wasn’t enough.

Kathy Posner

Former Assistant Legislative Inspector General for the City of Chicago

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Privileged folks threatened by freeing college debt

Whenever there is the slightest possibility that the entitled and privileged may lose their inherently unfair edge over the working class, the propaganda of corporate speak is deployed to demean and crush any hope for equality.

Nothing is more revelatory of this than the insane angry response to ending college debt by the usual corporate lackeys who enslave millions with egregious and clearly criminal credit card debt.

Of course the very criminal banker class that runs that credit card scam is fighting tooth and nail to keep the scam of college debt running smoothly.

Edward David Juillard, Kennedy Park