Evidence in Burke’s landmark corruption case moved into the third of four schemes the former 14th Ward alderman allegedly spearheaded, this one involving the massive Old Post Office building, which had been left vacant and run down for years before it was sold to 601 West Companies in 2016.
Unlike last time when the landmark corruption case was put on hold for a week, proceedings continued briefly Monday before the parties broke until Tuesday.
Jurors on Tuesday began hearing evidence of the second of four criminal schemes the longtime 14th Ward alderperson was allegedly involved in — this one involving remodeling work at a Burger King restaurant that was located in Burke’s district.
The jury heard the first direct testimony from someone who prosecutors allege Burke sought to extort by weaponizing his powerful position as chair of the City Council’s Finance Committee and the longest serving member of the City Council.
Federal prosecutors called their first witness Friday afternoon in the longtime alderman’s landmark corruption trial — Elmhurst College professor Constance Mixon, who gave the jury a crash course in the city’s political system.
While prosecutors said former Ald. Ed Burke was a “bribe-taker and an extortionist” who used his elected office to “line his pockets,” Burke’s attorneys said he was an “old school, hardworking public servant” devoted to Chicago and its residents.
After a weeklong delay after an attorney tested positive for COVID-19, a jury was picked Thursday to decide the federal corruption trial of former Ald. Ed Burke and his two co-defendants.
It was expected that during the first week of the longtime 14th Ward alderperson’s landmark racketeering trial a 12-person jury would be seated, opening arguments would be given and witness testimony would begin. Instead, none of those things happened.
The racketeering trial of former Ald. Ed Burke is on hold for at least a week after an attorney in the case tested positive for COVID-19, the judge in the case said Thursday.
The selection process, which began slowly Monday morning, has continued at a leisurely pace throughout Tuesday. No jurors have yet been officially seated to hear the case.
Former Ald. Ed Burke entered the Dirksen United States Courthouse for the first time since June 2019 accompanied by his wife, former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Ann Burke, and a phalanx of attorneys.
When former Chicago alderperson Ed Burke walks into court this month for his trial on charges of racketeering, bribery and extortion, he’ll be the latest Illinois politician and powerbroker to face accusations of corruption — but far from the first in recent years.
Former Ald. Ed Burke, once the most powerful member of the City Council, is scheduled to go on trial starting on Monday at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on 14 charges of bribery, extortion and racketeering — charges that are usually brought against members of the mob or street gangs.
During an April 2022 court hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet Bhachu called Solis one of the most significant government informants and witnesses of the last several decades. But prosecutors do not plan to call him during the trial of former Ald. Ed Burke, set to start Nov. 6.
Madigan, 81, once so dominant that he was known as the “velvet hammer,” was at the heart of the allegations that led to 32 guilty verdicts in those trials. He now faces an uphill battle to avoid guilty convictions to match his former chief of staff Tim Mapes and longtime political confidant Mike McClain.
Former Ald. Ed Burke will start receiving pension payments of $8,027 per month in August, and they will continue for the rest of his life, according to records obtained by WTTW News from the Municipal Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago.