Wife of Cicero ‘bishop’ claims his antics cost her a fair trial

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Herman Jackson’s wife says his actions in court cost her a fair trial. | Sun-Times file photo

Herman Jackson’s antics have gotten him in trouble before.

But now the Cicero preacher’s wife claims he made a “spectacle” of himself in court and cost her a fair trial. The allegation appears in a recent filing by Jeanette Faria’s lawyer, Heather Winslow, who argued Faria deserves a do-over.

“Mr. Jackson’s conduct during his closing argument was the end of any chance of a fair trial for Ms. Faria,” Winslow wrote. “Mr. Jackson used the opportunity to showcase his talent as a preacher and to present his side of the evidence without risking cross-examination.”

The feds accused Jackson and Faria of scamming hundreds of thousands of dollars in child care subsidies out of the state through day care centers connected to the Ark of Safety Apostolic Faith Temple in Cicero, where Jackson was known as the “bishop.” A jury in September found the couple guilty of fraud and lying to federal authorities.

Jackson dismissed his lawyer and represented himself during the trial. He cross-examined witnesses, called his ex-wife to the stand and gave a memorable closing argument in which he repeatedly accused an FBI agent of being a liar.

“Over repeated objections by the government, Mr. Jackson paced the courtroom and hurled accusations at witnesses, investigators and others,” Winslow wrote. “He yelled ‘LIAR’ over and over again until the jurors looked actually scared.”

Winslow cited “overwhelming” evidence that Jackson used day cares at his church to defraud taxpayers. But she said that same evidence showed Faria had nothing to do with two early day cares at the church. Faria was the owner “in name only” of a third, Winslow wrote.

Jackson most memorably made headlines in 2013 by predicting “the wrath of God” would visit the home of U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, who oversees his case. Since his trial, he has again retained the lawyer he dismissed, Matt McQuaid. He is also seeking a new trial or acquittal from Coleman, who ordered him locked up moments after his conviction.

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