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Despite FOP’s disapproval, Dan Herbert says he still is Jason Van Dyke’s lawyer

Attorney Dan Herbert (center) looks at his client, Jason Van Dyke, on Sept. 26 during his trial for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. | John J. Kim/Pool/Chicago Tribune

The Van Dyke case . . .

Chicago attorney Dan Herbert, who represents convicted Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke in the Laquan McDonald murder case, is making a gut check.

Will he or won’t he be able to represent Van Dyke during his next courtroom appearance Dec. 14?

“I talked to Jason on the phone yesterday [Thursday],” said Herbert, who was reported to have been given a thumbs-down this week by the Fraternal Order of Police Executive Board for the way he handled the Van Dyke case.

“Jason knows what the union did and he called me pretty upset about it,” he said.

“I told Jason I would not abandon him . . . and not to worry,” said Herbert, who tells Sneed he had learned informally this week the board also recommended not referring his services to police officers in need of legal assistance.


However, a union source who asked to remain anonymous tells Sneed: “This should be considered a work in progress,” suggesting a retreat is in the works and that Herbert is not being fired.

Sneed has also learned via a second source that a “union” missive was sent to Herbert suggesting Van Dyke was adequately represented; that Herbert wasn’t being fired as an attorney from the union’s Legal Defense Fund, and that he can continue on as Van Dyke’s attorney.

“I know I have Jason’s support as well as his wife, Tiffany — and I want to stay on, but I’ve also been advised to be realistic when it comes to malpractice insurance to protect my business going forward,” Herbert added. “So I have someone looking into it to get a definitive answer.

“I want to be there for Jason, but I also have a wife, four kids and five employees to support,” he tells Sneed.

“And right now Jason is sad, alone and scared.

“Look, I have been proud to represent the FOP for over a decade, and the current FOP contains good people,” added Herbert. “However, there are a couple of bad apples . . . currently involving those who seem to be the decision makers. Sometimes passive people fall in line to the loudest voice.”

Van Dyke, who fatally shot 17-year-old McDonald 16 times on the night of Oct 20, 2014 — while McDonald was refusing police commands to drop a knife — was taken into custody immediately after the verdict.

No longer a police officer since his certification was revoked, Van Dyke is now being held in protective custody at a county jail in Rock Island.

“My appearance is still on file,” said Herbert. “So until that changes I am his lawyer.”

McDonald’s ‘rampage’ more mild than wild as Van Dyke’s defense struggles
Chicagoans react to Van Dyke’s conviction: ‘I was shaking as verdict was read’
After Van Dyke verdict, reactions online are swift and pointed

Hoop scoop . . .

Haha: Illinois Attorney General-elect Kwame Raoul is no dummy.

“Kwame knows how to do a good job using a little edge,” chirped a member of the basketball team assembled by Raoul for a pick-up game election night Tuesday at the Lakeshore Athletic Club.

“He [Raoul] used Obama’s 2008 election night hoops game strategy — by picking the better basketball players for his team,” chuckled the source, citing Raoul’s selection of former NBA stellar Kendall Gill, Arne Duncan and Alexi Giannoulias to beat the socks off the other team.

Witherspoon in the Windy City?

Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon hits Chicago on Monday to promote an event at the Auditorium Theatre called “Together Live,” which unites women of diverse backgrounds and generations to share their stories. This tour is criss-crossing the country and Chicago is Witherspoon’s only stop.

Sneedlings . . .

I spy: L.A. Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda spotted at Gene & Georgetti on Wednesday evening. . . . Injured Bull Denzel Valentine at Studio Paris Nightclub recently. . . . Bears stars Kyle Fuller and Khalil Mack spotted at RPM Italian last week. . . . Ditto for Blackhawk Jan Rutta and producer/ writer Judd Apatow. . . . Saturday’s birthdays: Ellen Pompeo, 49; Diplo, 40; and Tracy Morgan, 50. . . . Sunday’s birthdays: Leonardo DiCaprio, 44; Demi Moore, 56; Stanley Tucci, 58; and a happy early birthday to Billy Siegl, ageless and priceless.