Chicago corruption trials

A series of high-profile federal trials are challenging Chicago-style politics. Read our coverage below.

Federal prosecutors asked the judge to give Mapes as many as five years in prison, arguing that his lies “were calculated to thwart the government’s sprawling investigation of a series of unlawful schemes calculated to corrupt the government of this state at the highest levels.”
A jury of nine women and three men heard from 38 witnesses over 16 days of testimony as prosecutors made their case that Burke was “a bribe taker” and “an extortionist.”
USA v. Edward M. Burke

Edward M. Burke was the longest-serving member of Chicago’s City Council. But in 2019, a grand jury accused him of using his Council seat to steer business to his private law firm. He was found guilty of racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion.

Burke’s legal retirement marks a shift from earlier this month, when the state listed him as eligible to practice law despite his federal conviction.
Appeals Justice Jesse Reyes called on his Democratic primary opponent to say if she recused herself when the court failed to suspend Burke’s law license.
The former alderman’s wife, Anne Burke, served as chief justice of the state’s highest court for three years before her tenure ended in 2022.
USA vs. Timothy Mapes

Timothy Mapes served for decades as the chief of staff to then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. He was accused of perjury and attempted obstruction of justice for a bid to block the feds’ Madigan investigation. A jury found him guilty on both counts and agreed that he lied on every occasion identified by prosecutors.

Timothy Mapes was sentenced to 2½ years in prison for lying to a grand jury. Now we know who wrote letters to the judge on his behalf.
Timothy Mapes was convicted of lying to a federal grand jury as part of an effort to thwart the feds’ probe into former House Speaker Michael Madigan.
But lawyers for Tim Mapes argue their client should be sentenced to time served, supervised release and “significant” community service.
USA vs. James Weiss

Businessman James Weiss, son-in-law of former Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, was accused of paying bribes to state lawmakers to advance legislation. Weiss was found guilty of wire and mail fraud, bribery, and lying to the FBI.

The feds agreed that the Vernon Hills Democrat deserved probation despite his tax crimes, asking U.S. District Judge Mary Rowland for the light sentence in a memo last week.
A 10-page memo Tuesday offered few new details about Link’s cooperation or crime, but it showed the value of Link’s undercover work to the feds.
Link testified that he’d withdrawn money from his campaign account and “used some for gambling.” He also told jurors that “I was helping a friend who was in dire need.”
ComEd Bribery Trial

Four power players were accused of trying to bribe former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to benefit ComEd. The four were found guilty.

The high court is reviewing a law that’s popular among federal prosecutors — including those pursuing former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.
Credibility of Fidel Marquez, the former ComEd exec whom FBI agents persuaded to cooperate in the investigation of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, is now questionable, judge implies.
Fidel Marquez did not succeed in purchasing the firearm, and no criminal charges appear to have been filed against him. Prosecutors confirmed earlier this week that he is expected to testify at the trial of ex-House Speaker Michael Madigan.
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A look at some of the key players involved in the case and the trial, and a timeline of key events leading up to it, as outlined in court records.
USA v. Alex Acevedo

Alex Acevedo, a son of former state Rep. Eddie Acevedo, went to trial on tax charges related to the investigation of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Alex Acevedo was found guilty.

Alex Acevedo’s prison term is longer than the one-month sentence handed to his brother but shorter than the 6 months his father got. Both were also found guilty of tax violations.
Alex Acevedo, his brother Michael Acevedo and their father were charged with cheating on their taxes in indictments in February 2021. Edward Acevedo pleaded guilty in December 2021 to tax evasion, was sentenced to six months behind bars and was released last month.
Alex Acevedo, his brother Michael Acevedo and their father were each charged with cheating on their taxes in separate indictments handed up in February 2021.