Michael Madigan Seeking to Delay Racketeering Trial as Supreme Court Hears Case on Federal Bribery Statute

Michael Madigan file photo (WTTW News)Michael Madigan file photo (WTTW News)

With his racketeering trial just months away, Michael Madigan is now seeking a delay while the U.S. Supreme Court hears a separate case that could “impact nearly every phase” of the former Illinois House speaker’s proceedings.

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The defense teams for Madigan, as well as his longtime confidant and current co-defendant Michael McClain, are seeking to strike their upcoming trial date and delay all proceedings until the Supreme Court issues a ruling in a case that could rewrite the federal bribery statute.

“The interests of judicial economy and fairness to the parties, particularly the defendants, dictate the need for a stay of the proceedings or, at the very least, a continuance of the trial date until after the Supreme Court renders its decision in Snyder,” attorneys for Madigan and McClain wrote in a new motion Tuesday.

The new case before the high court (James E. Snyder v. U.S.) could determine whether the federal bribery statute ​​criminalizes only bribery or also reaches gratuities — defined as payments in recognition of actions a state or local official has already taken or committed to take, without any quid pro quo agreement to take those actions.

Madigan is currently scheduled to stand trial on April 1 on allegations that he participated in, and benefited from, a variety of corruption schemes. Among the charges he’s facing are counts of racketeering conspiracy, using interstate facilities in aid of bribery, wire fraud and attempted extortion.

He’s set to be tried alongside McClain, who is charged with racketeering conspiracy and individual counts of using interstate facilities in aid of bribery and wire fraud.

The court is expected to issue a ruling in the Snyder case by June 2024, and Madigan’s defense team recommended pushing the trial date back until next fall.

Madigan and McClain’s attorneys argue that extra time would be put to good use. Prosecutors are still turning over discovery files, including 12,000 pages of materials and approximately 36 hours of recordings that were given to the defense just last month.

The high court’s review has already had an impact on the related case of four former ComEd officials convicted in May of attempting to bribe Madigan.

A federal judge this week struck the January 2024 sentencing dates for the “ComEd Four” — McClain, ex-ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, retired ComEd executive John Hooker and ex-City Club of Chicago president and former ComEd consultant Jay Doherty, who were each convicted of bribery conspiracy, bribery and willfully falsifying the company’s books.

During that trial, federal prosecutors painted the defendants as a close-knit group of “conspirators” who plotted to “corruptly influence and reward Madigan” in order to get his support on legislation in Springfield that would benefit the utility company.

But last week, attorneys for the ComEd Four argued that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Snyder case could prove “fatal” to the guilty verdicts rendered earlier this year.

“If Defendants’ long-expressed and strenuously argued-for position becomes the law of the land,” defense teams in the ComEd bribery case wrote in a Dec. 14 motion, “then the Government will have done a terrible injustice to them by prosecuting them for conduct that is not criminal, irreparably and forever damaging their lives, careers, reputations, and relationships.”

Tim Mapes — Madigan’s longtime chief of staff who was convicted in August of lying to a grand jury and attempted obstruction of justice — is also seeking to delay his own sentencing date, arguing that the Snyder decision could have “direct relevance to the perjury and obstruction allegations in this case.”

Contact Matt Masterson: @ByMattMasterson[email protected] | (773) 509-5431

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