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Madigan’s longtime chief of staff pleads not guilty during arraignment on perjury indictment

The charges against Timothy Mapes brought federal prosecutors closer than ever to Michael Madigan, who has been implicated in a bribery scheme involving ComEd but has not been charged. He denies wrongdoing.

Tim Mapes, longtime chief of staff to former House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Tim Mapes, longtime chief of staff to former House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Sun-Times file

The longtime chief of staff to former House Speaker Michael Madigan pleaded not guilty Friday through his lawyer to federal perjury and attempted obstruction of justice charges.

The arraignment of Timothy Mapes, 66, took place during a remote hearing before U.S. District Judge John Lee. Mapes could be heard in Lee’s courtroom giving only simple answers like “yes, sir” to the judge’s questions.

Lee said Mapes would remain free pending trial on an unsecured $10,000 bond. Prosecutors asked that Mapes also give up his Firearm Owner’s Identification card. Mapes’ attorney, Andrew Porter, did not object but said Mapes was “concerned that he’s able to locate it.”

Mapes’ arraignment had initially been scheduled as an in-person hearing. That would have forced Mapes to stroll past news cameras in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse, a ritual faced by scores of public corruption defendants that’s been lost in the coronavirus era.

Later Thursday, court records showed Mapes had agreed to appear by video.

Mapes’ attorneys denied the charges against their client in a statement earlier this week. They said the case was really all about one man: Madigan.

“Tim Mapes testified truthfully in the grand jury,” they wrote. “His honest recollections — in response to vague and imprecise questions about events that allegedly took place many years ago — simply do not constitute perjury. This case, of course, is not about him — but about the government’s continued pursuit of his former boss. Tim Mapes has in no way engaged in obstruction of justice, and looks forward to prevailing at trial when all of the facts are aired.”

This week’s indictment of Mapes brought federal prosecutors closer than ever to Madigan, who has been implicated in a bribery scheme involving ComEd but not criminally charged. Madigan denies wrongdoing.

The indictment also renewed talk of ethics legislation in Springfield.

The 11-page document lifted the curtain slightly on the feds’ aggressive investigation of state politics. It said Mapes received immunity on March 24 to testify before a federal grand jury. It also said he appeared before the grand jury March 31 and gave false answers about longtime Madigan confidant Michael McClain.

Prosecutors charged ComEd with bribery last July. The utility struck a deferred-prosecution deal, agreeing to cooperate and pay a $200 million fine. Then, in November, a grand jury indicted four members of Madigan’s inner circle, including McClain, on bribery charges.

Defense attorneys in that case told a judge earlier this month that prosecutors were “on the brink” of a superseding indictment, which could add defendants, allegations or charges. Prosecutors did not comment on that possibility.

Another former ComEd executive, Fidel Marquez, was charged separately, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in the investigation in hopes of a lenient sentence. Others charged in related indictments include former state lawmakers Edward “Eddie” Acevedo and Annazette Collins.