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Tables turn as defense attorney goes on trial

A once rising-star defense attorney faces his most important trial yet at Chicago’s federal courthouse this week.

Except this time, Beau Brindley is the defendant.

It’s been more than a year since the feds raided Brindley’s offices at the historic Monadnock building downtown. Now prosecutors based in Milwaukee are preparing to take him and associate Michael Thompson to trial on perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

The bench trial is set to begin Monday in front of U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber; the pair waived their right to a jury trial, records show.

Brindley’s attorney, Cynthia Giacchetti, could not be reached for comment. Thompson’s attorney, Ed Genson, said his client is “completely and fully innocent of the allegations in this indictment,” but otherwise declined to talk about the case.

The indictment against Brindley and Thompson alleges a conspiracy spanning from September 2008 to June 2013 and involving seven separate proceedings. The feds have accused the pair of offering false information to the courts and the U.S. Attorney, and of coaching witnesses to lie under oath.

Many of the cases revolved around drug offenses. Prosecutors said witnesses were often given scripted testimony to memorize.

In one case, Brindley client Alexander Vasquez was arrested after he fled the scene of a one-kilogram cocaine deal in Arlington Heights. Prosecutors said Brindley knew Vasquez was guilty but suggested Vasquez and his cousin commit perjury to avoid a conviction.

Agents found four versions of a direct examination for Vasquez when they searched Brindley’s offices in July 2014. They allegedly described conflicting reasons as to why Vasquez was arrested at a drug deal.

Brindley’s lawyers have alleged in court filings that, even though Milwaukee prosecutors are handling the case, two Chicago prosecutors initiated the investigation.

They did so after jurors either acquitted or could not reach a verdict on counts in cases involving Brindley clients who later became part of the investigation against him, Brindley’s lawyers alleged.

Marina Collazo, another one-time co-defendant of Brindley’s, pleaded guilty in November and admitted she lied on the stand in 2009 — but she said she did so only at Brindley’s urging.

Collazo’s plea deal required her to cooperate against Brindley in return for prosecutors’ agreement to recommend a sentence of probation.

Brindley made a name for himself before his indictment as a passionate and colorful advocate for hard-up defendants. His clients included mobster Sam Volpendesto and prison-breaker Jose Banks.