Beyond Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s State of the State address, the guilty plea of yet another former public official is the talk of Springfield and Chicago.
On Tuesday, former state Sen. Martin Sandoval pleaded guilty to two federal charges: bribery and filing a false tax return. U.S. Attorney John Lausch says Sandoval will be talking to the feds about any number of things.
Sandoval, a Democrat from Cicero, admitted to taking a quarter of a million dollars in bribes. While it’s unclear where the bulk of that came from, the plea agreement details how Sandoval used his position as chair of the Senate’s Transportation Committee to protect and advance the red-light camera industry.
During a rare press conference after Sandoval’s plea, Lausch noted the investigations into official corruption were “far from over” and implored people who had knowledge of any wrongdoing to come forward and cooperate. It was notable because Lausch has chosen to stay behind the scenes as some of the high-profile indictments have played out over the past year.
Lausch said Wednesday that Sandoval would be cooperating with federal investigators and was prepared to testify on “any matter we ask (him) to testify about.”
It could be seen as a sign to other public officials and entities caught up in federal probes: come forward now and tell investigators what you know. Or else, risk further prosecution. It could also signal that federal authorities still don’t have all they need to bring charges in some of the myriad of cases that have been reported.
Our politics team of Carol Marin, Amanda Vinicky and Paris Schutz delves into that story and other topics.