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Ex-state Sen. Annazette Collins pleads not guilty after feds file new indictment

The indictment filed Wednesday against Collins accuses her of an additional count of filing a false individual income tax return for the calendar year 2018.

Former state Sen. Annazette Collins
Former state Sen. Annazette Collins
Sun-Times file

Former state Sen. Annazette Collins pleaded not guilty through her lawyer Thursday to a revised indictment filed this week charging her with an additional tax crime.

The former politician-turned-lobbyist had originally been indicted March 31 in connection with the feds’ ongoing bribery investigation revolving around ComEd and Springfield politics. That indictment charged Collins with two counts of filing a false individual income tax return, two counts of failing to file a corporate income tax return and one count of failing to file an individual income tax return.

A new indictment filed Wednesday against Collins accuses her of an additional count of filing a false individual income tax return for the calendar year 2018. Collins falsely claimed $31,830 in total travel expenses for that year, the indictment alleges.

Court records filed in connection with Collins’ case list a grand jury number that matches one appearing in other records related to the ComEd investigation. Federal prosecutors charged ComEd with bribery last July. Four members of former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner circle were also indicted on bribery charges in November.

On Wednesday, a grand jury also indicted former Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes on perjury and attempted obstruction of justice charges. Madigan has not been charged and denies wrongdoing.

Collins worked as a lobbyist for ComEd from 2014 until 2019, records show. The Chicago Sun-Times has also reported that Collins lobbied in support of unlicensed video gambling machines, known as sweepstakes machines.

They are at the heart of a separate bribery case that has led to charges against former state Rep. Luis Arroyo and businessman James T. Weiss, son-in-law of former Cook County Democratic Party chairman and ex-county Assessor Joseph Barrios.

Collins lobbied in 2019 for Weiss’ company, Collage LLC, records show.