Feds reveal breadth of evidence during brief hearing in Ald. Edward M. Burke case
The judge told attorneys to return to court Jan. 23, at which point it may be revealed whether the high-profile case is likely to go to trial.
Federal prosecutors said they have turned over 40,000 pages of evidence to attorneys for Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) and his co-defendants, as well as 100 “media discs,” revealing the potential breadth of their case against the once-powerful politician.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Kutcher revealed that detail during a brief status hearing Tuesday in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Robert Dow. Burke did not attend the hearing, nor did fellow defendants Pete Andrews or Charles Cui.
Dow told the attorneys to return to court Jan. 23, at which point it may be revealed whether attorneys expect the high-profile case to go to trial.
Burke pleaded not guilty in June to a sweeping, 59-page indictment filed May 30. Andrews and Cui also joined him in pleading not guilty. But little has occurred publicly in the case since Burke last showed up in court in July.
Still, federal investigators have continued to cause a stir with raids on the homes and offices of various politicians and their allies, hinting at the existence of multiple, ongoing criminal investigations. The feds raided Burke’s office last November.
The indictment against Burke accused the powerful 14th Ward alderman of using his seat to steer business toward his private tax law firm amid schemes that involved the Old Main Post Office, a Burger King at 41st and Pulaski, and a redevelopment project on the Northwest Side. Andrews and Cui were implicated in the Burger King and redevelopment project, respectively.
Burke was also accused of trying to block an admission fee hike at the Field Museum, all because he wasn’t getting an answer about a museum internship for the daughter of former Ald. Terry Gabinski.
The indictment showcased the undercover work of former 25th Ward Ald. Danny Solis, who wore a wire as a secret federal informant. It revealed that, by August 2018, authorities had recorded more than 62,000 of Burke’s phone calls.
Amid the Post Office scheme, the feds allegedly caught Burke uttering unforgettable lines like, “The cash register has not rung yet” and “Did we land . . . the tuna?”