ComEd bribery case might not go to trial until 2023 — thanks to R. Kelly

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber presides over both cases, which had been scheduled for back-to-back trials this year. The ComEd case involves former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s co-defendant, Michael McClain.

SHARE ComEd bribery case might not go to trial until 2023 — thanks to R. Kelly
U.S. Attorney John Lausch announcing the indictment of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan on March 2.

U.S. Attorney John Lausch announcing the indictment of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

A major public corruption trial set for late summer has been postponed because of a delay in another major trial set to begin soon at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse — the child pornography trial of R&B superstar R. Kelly.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber presides over both cases, which were scheduled for back-to-back trials this year. Kelly’s trial had been set for Aug. 1. Meanwhile, the ComEd bribery case involving four members of indicted former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner circle had been set for trial Sept. 12.

The ComEd case involves Madigan’s co-defendant, Michael McClain. It had been set to take place amid this fall’s general election campaign and could ultimately serve as a preview of Madigan’s trial.

But Leinenweber announced Tuesday that the building’s ceremonial courtroom — its largest — won’t be available for Kelly’s trial until Aug. 15. That two-week delay was enough to knock the ComEd case off the calendar. During a hearing in that case, prosecutors began suggesting a trial in the spring, noting a conflict with another trial in January.

That could be the trial of former Madigan chief of staff Timothy Mapes, who is set to go to trial for perjury that month.

McClain attorney Patrick Cotter, however, said he thought a delay until spring seemed “a little excessive.” The judge agreed to set a status hearing for July 14 to try to set a new trial date.

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Clockwise, from top left: Former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker, longtime Madigan confidant Michael McClain, ex-City Club President Jay Doherty and onetime ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore.

Sun-Times File

Also charged along with McClain in the ComEd case are former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, ex-top ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and former City Club President Jay Doherty. The four are accused of arranging for Madigan’s associates and allies to get jobs, contracts and money in order to influence Madigan as key legislation worked its way through Springfield. They were originally charged in November 2020.

Though the same scheme is charged in the separate indictment handed up this year against Madigan and McClain, McClain is only charged with the scheme in the November 2020 case.

Meanwhile, Kelly faces child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in an indictment alleging he illegally thwarted an earlier 2008 trial in Cook County. Prosecutors say he worked with two employees — Derrel McDavid and Milton “June” Brown — to beat the case, and that he worked with McDavid and others to intimidate the alleged victim.

Kelly also faces a potential life sentence in a separate racketeering case in Brooklyn. His sentencing there is set for June 29.

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R. Kelly walks out of the Daley Center after an appearance in child support court, Wednesday morning, March 13, 2019.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file photo

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