‘King Rudy’ Acosta pleads guilty in deal with prosecutors— a day after his father is sentenced to probation

Rudy Acosta Jr. cooperated with the government against corrupt Chicago politicians. His son, Rudy Acosta III, worked with the feds targeting drug traffickers.

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Rudy Acosta III built this massive, castle-like home overlooking the Addison exit on the Kennedy Expressway.

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Cooperation with a sprawling federal corruption investigation helped Rudy Acosta Jr. get a probation-only sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to lying to FBI agents. On Thursday, Acosta’s son, Rudy III, entered a plea deal with federal prosecutors, hoping his work for the feds can get him out from under a possible life sentence for trafficking millions of dollars worth of heroin and cocaine.

Rudy Acosta III did not attend his father’s sentencing hearing Wednesday, and Acosta Jr. was not in court as his son formally entered a guilty plea to a single count of trafficking cocaine, though in his plea agreement he admitted to numerous sales dating back to the 1990s that totaled more than 450 kilograms of the drug and threatening a customer— who was a DEA informant— whose courier had been caught with a nearly $500,000 shipment in 2015.

Wearing a dark suit and a chastened expression the younger Acosta, who achieved a level of local renown as a record producer and as the onetime owner of a castle-like mansion overlooking the Kennedy Expressway, said little during the brief hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman.

The younger Acosta landed in federal court largely because of a series increasingly desperate calls and texts with a drug customer turned federal informant, as he tried to locate a wayward courier who he thought had lost a cocaine shipment worth $500,000.

The threats, lawyer Jeffrey Steinback said, were the result of sheer panic as Acosta worried what his suppliers would do to him and his family if he couldn’t pay for the nearly $500,000 shipment.

“The belief that Rudy had that this amount of drugs had been seized led Rudy to believe that his family was in jeopardy,” Steinback told the judge. “He believed without question that the people that Rudy worked with at that time knew he had children.”

Nonetheless, Rudy Acosta III has cooperated with prosecutors against his former business partners. Steinback said after the hearing that Acosta will take the stand when the trial of his supplier, Pablo Anibal Vazquez-Duarte, who was identified as “Compa” in Acosta’s plea deal, goes to trial alongside nine other co-defendants in a federal drug conspiracy case.

Acosta III remains free on $2 million bond — posted by family members, including his father, who put up their homes as collateral — pending a sentencing hearing set for July.

Steinback, who also represented Rudy Acosta Jr., said the elder Acosta, a former precinct committeeman, provided information that helped prosecutors build a case against late state Sen. Martin Sandoval, who became an informant in a sprawling public corruption probe that has ensnared numerous elected officials and political powerhouses, including former Chicago Ald. Ed Burke and former House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The fact that the elder Acosta was sentenced to probation the day before his son entered his change of plea was not intentional, Steinback said.

“Believe it or not, that was a total coincidence,” he said.

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