The Week in Review: Madigan Arraigned, Cullerton Pleads, Smollett Sentenced

This was a busy week in the courts. 

After a 40-minute dressing down by Cook County Judge James Linn, Jussie Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail plus probation after being convicted of lying to police about staging a hate crime against himself. He was also fined a total of $145,000. 

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Before leaving the court, the former “Empire” actor then stood up and declared his innocence and repeatedly shouted that he “was not suicidal.”  He’s being held in protective custody. 

Former Speaker Michael Madigan was arraigned by phone and pleaded not guilty to racketeering and corruption.  Madigan has used $4.8 million from his political fund to pay for his attorneys so far and has $10 million left according to filings. 

Meanwhile, former state Sen. Tom Cullerton pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from a labor union in another courtroom.

In politics, lawmakers paused Madigan’s pork projects, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, but then quickly reversed course when those interests pushed back. 

Gov. J.B. Pritzker removes Shirley Madigan as chair of the Illinois Arts Council, CBS Chicago reported, after the once-powerful politician was arraigned.  What, if any, reforms will the General Assembly pass during the spring legislative session in light of Madigan’s alleged schemes?  

Meanwhile, campaign season officially kicked off this week as politicians filed their nominating petitions, WBBM Newsradio reported.  And, speculation abounds over the possible challengers for Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Sun-Times reported.

Mayor Lightfoot is tackling a 17% rise in crime on the CTA with more cops and security as opponents weaponize the violence issue.  The city is holding six town hall discussions on Chicago’s intractable violence, Block Club Chicago reported.  Meanwhile, the search for Chicago’s next inspector general is down to two.

On the second anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2800 Chicago Police Department officers who are vaccine holdouts need to get jabbed by Sunday or possibly lose their job.  Chicago Public Schools students are moving to mask optional next week as the Chicago Teachers Union files an unfair labor practice charge.  Will the move lead to another possible work stoppage?  


Chuck Goudie, ABC 7 Chicago | @ABC7Chicago @ChuckGoudieABC7

Craig Dellimore, WBBM Newsradio | @WBBMNewsradio @CraigDellimore

Dan Mihalopoulos, WBEZ | @WBEZ @DMihalopoulos

Mauricio Peña, Chalkbeat Chicago | @ChalkBeatChi @MauricioPena

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