Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.
Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.
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Judge in Ed Burke’s criminal case tells lawyers ‘stay tuned’ after crucial hearing on evidence
The federal judge presiding over Ald. Edward M. Burke’s racketeering case told lawyers he would deliver a “really long opinion ... as soon as we can” on hundreds of pages of motions following oral arguments in the case today.
It’s unclear how soon that crucial opinion might arrive, though, as U.S. District Judge Robert Dow also told them, “don’t be shocked if you get another request to come back.”
“Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay tuned,” Dow said when the roughly two-hour-long hearing ended.
Still, today’s long-awaited hearing was a key moment in the case that has hung over the head of Chicago’s longest-serving alderman for about three years. Burke was first criminally charged in January 2019, but a grand jury did not hand up an indictment until May 2019.
There is still no trial date on the books.
The hearing was a year-and-a-half in the making, dealing with pretrial motions first filed in August 2020. Among other things, Burke’s lawyers alleged then that prosecutors withheld crucial information from Chicago’s chief federal judge as they sought to eavesdrop on City Hall phone lines, as well as Burke’s cellphone.
The lawyers have argued the recordings should be suppressed.
Today, defense attorneys for Burke and his co-defendants — political aide Peter Andrews and developer Charles Cui — continued to insist that prosecutors stretched the boundaries of the law while building their case. Much of the argument revolved around technical legal points.
Jon Seidel has more on Burke’s case here.
More news you need
- In an update on another major case – Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson’s tax trial – a federal prosecutor said during opening statements today that Thompson lied to federal agents and tried to conceal that he owed $219,000 to a bank in Bridgeport that the government had shut down for massive fraud. In a preview of Thompson’s defense, his lawyers told jurors they won’t “find any proof that Mr. Thompson intended to cheat on his taxes.”
- Family members of 44-year-old Jacek Rudnicki say he was shot dead during a carjacking in the South Loop over the weekend, but police are releasing few details of the attack. Authorities won’t even say whether the Rudnicki’s Mercedes was stolen.
- Federal prosecutors say the wife of one of Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera’s top associates in Chicago never was granted immunity from criminal charges, disputing her claim she can’t be prosecuted. Vivianna Lopez is facing money-laundering charges in Chicago in connection with her husband’s drug business.
- Charges were filed today against a 27-year-old man accused of heading a group that pulled off at least nine smash-and-grab burglaries in recent months. They allegedly targeted a range of stores, and in one case, left stolen cash registers strewn across Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s tony Gold Coast street.
- Mayor Lori Lightfoot today asked nearly two dozen prominent Chicagoans to “re-imagine” the 57-acre museum campus and recommend ways to “maximize” its year-round benefits — with or without the Chicago Bears. The 23-member “working group” appointed by the mayor will try to figure out what to do before the Bears’ lease ends in 2033.
- A state appeals court today ruled that former Chicago Police officer Anthony Abbate can’t collect a city pension after he was convicted of battery for attacking a Northwest Side bartender in 2007. While Abbate was off-duty when he kicked and punched the bartender, a panel found that Abbate felt his status as a cop gave him impunity to act however he wanted and that he used his connections on the force to try to avoid arrest.
- Community activists who were arrested inside the Dirksen Federal Building last week were ordered to stay away from the federal courthouse for 60 days and pay a $200 fine. The punishments stem from their involvement in a protest demanding federal charges against former Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke.
- J Balvin, Ozuna and Wisin & Yandel are scheduled to headline the inaugural Sueños Music Festival in Chicago on Memorial Day weekend, it was announced today. The two-day festival, set for May 28-29 in Grant Park, is being billed as the largest Latin reggaeton event ever held in the lakefront park.
- The 94th Oscar nominations were announced this morning, with “Power of the Dog” and “Dune” leading with multiple nods. Our critic Richard Roeper weighs in on the Academy’s choices and snubs here.
A bright one
Mundelein man gets to spend the night before Super Bowl inside SoFi Stadium
About 10 years ago, Chad Vincent was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. He vowed not to allow the disease to limit his experiences.
On Sunday, Vincent will attend the Super Bowl — one of many sporting events on his attendance resume.
“My number one passion is my love for the Chicago Bears and the National Football League, so we started going on trips,” says Vincent, a physical education teacher from Mundelein. “We went to the Super Bowl Experiences, we went to the NFL Pro Bowl, we went to the NFL combine. I just don’t want to let anything slip away in the time that I have here.
“Since I started doing that, amazing opportunities just keep on coming. To be able to go to the Super Bowl is the pinnacle of all experiences. I was not expecting all of this, I was just hoping to get myself into the stadium and we figure out the rest.”
Vincent and his wife, Jen, are not only getting into SoFi Stadium, they will be sleeping there Saturday night.
Vincent won the Courtyard by Marriott Super Bowl Sleepover contest, in which a Super Bowl stadium suite is transformed into a guest room. The couple will wake up on Super Bowl Sunday inside the home of the Rams and Chargers.
The Associated Press’ Barry Wilner has more on Vincent’s journey here.
From the press box
- While the NBA trade season heated up today with some notable deals, Bulls star DeMar DeRozan said he’s perfectly fine with the team standing pat ahead of the Thursday deadline.
- Regardless of whether the Bulls can pull off a deal before the trade deadline, the team needs to start raising its play instead of hoping injured players will come back to spur a big run, Joe Cowley writes.
- The same Joe Burrow that had an up-and-down, three-interception game against the Bears in Week 2 will now play for his first Super Bowl this weekend. The Bears should consider that an encouraging sign of how things can come together for a good young QB, Patrick Finley writes.
- With the Winter Games continuing in China, Rick Telander has a reminder: If the Olympics are going on, then you know doping is never far away.
Your daily question ☕
When should Gov. Pritzker end the indoor mask mandate?
Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.
Yesterday we asked you:
Would you ever want to appear on a reality TV show? Why or why not?
Here’s what some of you said…
“No, I like my private life.” — Victoria L. Green
“Yes I would, just because I’m awesome.” — Natasha Williams
“Yep ‘Big Brother,’ I would be the cook and confidant!” — Noreen Kuenster
“Yes, any reality show that gives you the chance to win a million dollars! Of course I would take the chance.” — Hugo Roman
“I wouldn’t, but I always thought my husband and his workplace would be a great reality show. He works at a steel mill and those guys are crazy!” — Dawn Marie
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