Madigan’s ex-chief of staff wants judge to block feds from playing roughly 100 recordings at perjury trial

Defense attorneys also revealed the FBI tried to convince Tim Mapes to work as a “confidential witness” during a meeting in Springfield in February 2019. Mapes “politely declined.”

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Timothy Mapes Tim Mapes Illinois politician chief of staff

Defense attorneys for Timothy Mapes, former chief of staff for then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, are asking a federal judge to block prosecutors from playing roughly 100 secret recordings.

Seth Perlman, AP Photos

Defense attorneys for a longtime aide to former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan are asking a federal judge to block prosecutors from playing roughly 100 secret recordings of Springfield insiders during Chicago’s next public corruption trial, set to begin in six weeks.

They also revealed in court filings Friday the FBI tried to convince the Madigan aide, Tim Mapes, to work as a “confidential witness” during a meeting in Springfield in February 2019. Mapes “politely declined,” according to his attorneys.

Mapes served for decades as Madigan’s chief of staff. He is charged with perjury and attempted obstruction of justice, and faces trial Aug. 7.

Federal prosecutors insisted in a motion Friday that Mapes gave grand jury testimony in 2021 that could be proven false in part because Mapes had been caught on a federal wiretap with longtime Madigan friend Michael McClain.

McClain was convicted in May, along with three other former political power players, of a conspiracy to bribe Madigan to benefit ComEd.

Mapes’ attorney Andrew Porter followed up Friday with his own 47-page motion that warned the use of the nearly 100 recordings during Mapes’ trial could extend the feds’ case to “well over a month,” not the roughly one and a half weeks the feds had promised.

Porter then went on to detail many of the conversations that federal prosecutors purportedly hope to play. The topics discussed on the wiretaps range from dinner and travel plans, to holiday gifts, to Springfield gossip and intrigue. Several names from McClain’s trial are mentioned, including former Madigan aide Will Cousineau, former state Rep. Lou Lang and state Rep. Robert “Bob” Rita.

In one recording involving Madigan, McClain, Mapes, Cousineau and others, there is discussion about whether to form a committee to investigate sexual harassment issues, Porter wrote.

In another between McClain and Madigan’s son, Andrew Madigan, the men allegedly discuss claims by then-state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz that she was being “punished” for a press conference about allegations made against Madigan political aide Kevin Quinn.

Another discussion involves allegations against Lang, according to Porter’s motion.

Federal prosecutors say Mapes lied to the grand jury in 2021 when he denied recalling any details about McClain’s relationship with Madigan and claimed he would not have been privy to the details of their relationship. Not only is that proven false by the recordings, prosecutors say, but it was “common knowledge to many that McClain carried out assignments and conveyed messages for Madigan.”

In addition to blocking the recordings, Porter also asked U.S. District Judge John Kness to block the testimony of “well-respected former [Acting] U.S. Attorney and long-time First Assistant United States Attorney Gary Shapiro.” Porter wrote that prosecutors have labeled his expected testimony as “Grand Jury 101.”

Shapiro gave similar testimony during the 2019 perjury trial of Beena Patel, a longtime employee of onetime Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

Mapes’ case is the latest set to go to trial as a result of the feds’ aggressive public corruption investigations. Six people have been convicted by federal jurors as a result of those probes so far this year. Former Chicago Ald. Edward M. Burke faces a racketeering trial in November, and Madigan faces his own racketeering trial in April.

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