Madigan’s inner circle challenges bribery indictment, points to ‘fatal’ gaps
Lawyers for the four close to Michael Madigan say their indictment fails to allege a necessary “quid pro quo.” Instead, they argue it “loosely strings together an assortment of events over a ten-year period of time.”
Members of former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner circle argued Tuesday that their indictment in the ComEd bribery scandal suffers from a series of “fatal” gaps — including the lack of a clear quid pro quo.
Lawyers for Madigan confidant Michael McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, onetime ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and ex-City Club President Jay Doherty made their argument in a lengthy court memo, hoping to convince U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber to toss certain counts in the indictment.
The four are accused of arranging for Madigan’s associates and allies to get jobs, contracts and money in order to influence him as lawmakers considered legislation that would affect ComEd. Their indictment in November prompted fiery statements from their defense attorneys, a sign that several legal challenges would be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, Madigan has not been charged and denies wrongdoing. The scandal ended his record-setting tenure as Illinois House speaker, though, and he has repeatedly been referred to in charging documents as “Public Official A.”
The feds last week accused Madigan’s longtime chief of staff, Timothy Mapes, of perjury and attempted obstruction of justice.
Lawyers for McClain, Pramaggiore, Hooker and Doherty say their indictment fails to allege a necessary “quid pro quo.” Instead, they argue it “loosely strings together an assortment of events over a ten-year period of time — largely hiring decisions made by ComEd … at the recommendation of Public Official A — and alleges that, because such recommendations were made in the same decade that legislation affecting ComEd was passed, a crime must have been committed.”
The indictment “fails to allege any connection between these hiring decisions and any agreement or understanding with Public Official A that he would take (or refrain from) any action on ComEd’s behalf in exchange for the things of value defendants allegedly provided,” they wrote.
“Instead, the government points only to Public Official A’s general capacity to withhold or take certain action,” the lawyers added.
They also argued that allowing their prosecution to move forward, as it stands, would give prosecutors “essentially unlimited discretion to prosecute anyone who has provided a benefit to a public official, and convict them on evidence that the public official took some official act that the defendant favored.”
They pointed in a footnote to President Abraham Lincoln’s effort in 1863 to get the U.S. Trust Corporation to hire the nephew of a Union Army general killed in battle.
“Even Abraham Lincoln, renowned for his honesty, made job recommendations while serving as president,” they wrote.