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Once high-ranking Cook County official signals he intends to plead guilty

Patrick Doherty was a paid consultant for the politically connected red-light camera company SafeSpeed LLC and chief of staff to ex-Cook County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

Patrick Doherty exits the Dirksen Federal Building after pleading not guilty at his arraignment Feb. 20, 2020.
Patrick Doherty exits the Dirksen Federal Building on Feb. 20, 2020.
Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times file

A former Cook County official who also acted as a consultant to a red-light camera company indicated in court Wednesday he plans to plead guilty to bribery and other pay-to-play charges.

Patrick Doherty was a paid consultant for the politically connected red-light camera company SafeSpeed LLC. He also was chief of staff to former county Commissioner Jeff Tobolski, who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

“We’ve had discussions with the defense who has requested a plea agreement,” federal prosecutor Christopher Stetler said Wednesday during a virtual court hearing.

Doherty’s attorney also confirmed her client would like to change his plea to guilty.

Doherty is accused of conspiring to pay off a relative of an Oak Lawn trustee to support the installation of red-light cameras at additional intersections there.

He’s also accused in a scheme to bribe the late state Sen. Martin Sandoval to oppose legislation adverse to the red-light-camera industry’s interests.

Doherty also is accused of steering bribes to his boss, Tobolski, for helping an unnamed Chicago-area development company strike deals with the southwest suburb of McCook, where, in addition to his job as county commissioner, Tobolski was mayor.

Tobolski pleaded guilty to an extortion conspiracy last year and Sandoval pleaded guilty to corruption charges early in 2020 but died in December.