One of the 12 jurors who reached guilty verdicts for the “ComEd Four” this week believes those bribery convictions should send a “clear message” to legislators in Springfield.
A day after four former Commonwealth Edison officials were convicted on federal bribery charges, juror Amanda Schnitker Sayers reflected on what the verdicts in the high-profile political corruption case mean going forward.
“This is very clear: We do not want to stand for this sort of corruption,” Schnitker Sayers said on “Chicago Tonight” Wednesday. “We as jurors agree that we do not want to see our state run like that, and we do hope that message is clear that things need to occur along a proper channel to flow through the government. We have a great government. Let it run correctly.”
Each of the four defendants were charged with various counts of bribery conspiracy, bribery and falsifying the utility company’s books and records.
Ex-ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, 64, and longtime Madigan confidant Michael McClain, 75, were each convicted on nine counts, while retired ComEd executive John Hooker, 74, and ex-City Club of Chicago president and former ComEd consultant Jay Doherty, 69, were found guilty on six charges.
Those verdicts came Tuesday afternoon, after jurors deliberated for approximately 27 hours over five days beginning last week.
During the lengthy trial, federal prosecutors painted the defendants as a close-knit group of “conspirators” who plotted to give “a continuous stream of benefits” to “corruptly influence and reward Madigan” in order to get his support on Springfield legislation that would benefit ComEd.
Defense attorneys, meanwhile, said this was nothing more than legal lobbying of a powerful politician.
But Schnitker Sayers said jurors disagreed. She said there wasn’t just one piece of evidence that convinced them of the defendants’ guilt, and at times things got heated — but stayed respectful — during their deliberations.
“It was intense, it was very intense,” she said. “We worked really hard.”
Madigan was not charged in the “ComEd Four” case, but he faces his own racketeering trial alongside McClain that’s scheduled to begin in April 2024.
After the verdict Tuesday, Schnitker Sayers said the jurors became close during the eight weeks of testimony and deliberation. They want to keep in touch and plan to meet up next year to attend a portion of Madigan’s trial.