WBEZ | conviction http://www.wbez.org/tags/conviction Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Jury Convicts ex-Chicago Official in Red-Light Camera Case http://www.wbez.org/news/jury-convicts-ex-chicago-official-red-light-camera-case-114622 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/redlight.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash; A federal jury convicted a former&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;transportation official on Tuesday for taking bribes to steer $100 million in red-light camera contracts to a Phoenix company.</p><p>Jurors returned with guilty verdicts on all 20 counts against John Bills, the former second-in-command at&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;Department of Transportation. Bills was accused of accepting envelopes stuffed with cash, along with gifts &mdash; including condos in two states and a Mercedes &mdash; to help Redflex Traffic Systems obtain contracts in a decade-long scheme.</p><p>During closing arguments Monday, U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon detailed hotels stays, golf trips, an Arizona condominium, a&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;apartment and a Mercedes given to Bills for his efforts.</p><p>Defense attorney Nishay Sanan told jurors in his closing arguments that the money actually went to &quot;lobbyists who funneled it upstairs,&quot; tossing out names including Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan,&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Mayor Rahm Emanuel and&nbsp;ChicagoAlderman Edward Burke, the&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Tribune reported.</p><p>&quot;You don&#39;t give that kind of money to a guy like John Bills. You give it to people who can get things done,&quot; Sanan told jurors, who began deliberating Monday.</p><p>No elected officials have been implicated by prosecutors in the scheme. Fardon called Sanan&#39;s contention &quot;malarkey,&quot; and prosecutors showed emails in which Bills described his efforts for Redflex.</p><p>&quot;The idea that lobbyists were paid to funnel money to people like Mike Madigan and Ed Burke and Rahm Emanuel is pretty grandiose, but there is not one single shred of evidence that supports any of it,&quot; Fardon said.</p><p>Martin O&#39;Malley, who was hired as a Redflex consultant, testified that he passed envelopes stuffed with thousands of dollars in cash at a time to Bills at a restaurant. O&#39;Malley has pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme.</p><p>&quot;Sometimes there would be other people there with us, but they couldn&#39;t tell what was happening,&quot; O&#39;Malley told jurors during the trial.</p><p>O&#39;Malley said he collected about $2 million in bogus commissions during the 10-year conspiracy. He said Redflex paid him a commission every time a new camera system was installed in&nbsp;Chicago.</p><p>Former Redflex executive Karen Finley also has pleaded guilty to related charges. She is scheduled for sentencing this year.</p><p>Emanuel canceled Redflex&#39;s contract in 2013 following the&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;Tribune&#39;s reports about the alleged bribery scheme. Bills retired from his job as&nbsp;Chicago&#39;s&nbsp;managing deputy commissioner of transportation in 2011. He was charged in 2014.</p></p> Tue, 26 Jan 2016 14:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/jury-convicts-ex-chicago-official-red-light-camera-case-114622 Unpacking another year in the saga of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-22/unpacking-another-year-saga-former-gov-rod-blagojevich-95109 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-22/RS3019_110505 Blago and Patti 1_Wildeboer-lpr.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>As part of a special encore presentation of <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>, producer Katie O'Brien looked back on the year’s milestones. The saga of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been punctuated by many significant—sometimes bizarre—chapters since his arrest in 2008. The trials were full of drama, characters and tapes—lots and lots of tapes.</p><p>In late June, Blagojevich was convicted on 17 counts of corruption—bringing the grand total to 18 counts. And earlier this month, the former governor received his sentence—14 years. There were mixed reactions from the community—and <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> wanted to hear them all.</p><p>After Judge Zagel delivered his sentence, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> invited listeners to call, tweet and live chat. While WBEZ's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/justin-kaufmann" target="_blank">Justin Kaufmann</a> moderated the online chat at WBEZ.org, reporters Sam Hudzik and Robert Wildeboer joined <em>Eight Forty'Eight</em>’s Alison Cuddy to unpack the sentence and answer calls First, the show hit the streets and got Chicagoans initial reactions.</p><p>Blagojevich's attorneys are appealing his sentence. Meantime Blagojevich must to report to prison by March 15.</p></p> Thu, 22 Dec 2011 17:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-22/unpacking-another-year-saga-former-gov-rod-blagojevich-95109 Former federal prosecutor evaluates significance of Cellini conviction http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-02/former-federal-prosecutor-evaluates-significance-cellini-conviction-9368 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-02/g2e22e20000000000000e7f4b906ff8386e6ef7f3f7124b7afceab17012.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>William Cellini, a native son of Springfield, could soon move from the corridors of power to a prison cell. Jurors <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/cellini-found-partially-guilty-corruption-charges-93558" target="_blank">convicted</a> the long-time political figure and Friend of ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on two of four counts Tuesday. Cellini was found guilty of conspiracy to extort and of aiding and abetting bribery. His trial was likely the last of the so-called Operation Board Games prosecutions. <a href="http://www.hmltd.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=52&amp;Itemid=82" target="_blank">Patrick Deady</a>, a former federal prosecutor, saw his fair share of public corruption trials in Chicago, including that of former Gov. George Ryan. <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> asked him to evaluate how the Cellini trial compared to previous prosecutions.</p></p> Wed, 02 Nov 2011 13:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-02/former-federal-prosecutor-evaluates-significance-cellini-conviction-9368 Quinn signs law increasing gun violence penalties http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-signs-law-increasing-gun-violence-penalties-90049 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-03/RS819_AP110601082693.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation increasing&nbsp;penalties for convicted felons who are found carrying guns.&nbsp;</p><p>Under the law, signed Tuesday, felons convicted of unlawful use&nbsp;or possession of a weapon face two to 10 years behind bars.&nbsp;</p><p>Additional violations by felons caught with guns while on parole&nbsp;or supervised release will carry a sentence of three to 14 years in&nbsp;prison.&nbsp;</p><p>The measure was sponsored by Sen. Tony Munoz of Chicago and Rep. Michael Zalewski of Summit, both Democrats, in response to the&nbsp;shooting death of Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham. He was&nbsp;killed outside his home during an attempted robbery last year.&nbsp;Suspects in his death had previous gun charge convictions.</p><p>In signing the bill, Quinn said the law will ensure safer&nbsp;neighborhoods for families across Illinois.</p></p> Wed, 03 Aug 2011 15:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-signs-law-increasing-gun-violence-penalties-90049 Prosecutors say Blagojevich not fulfilling bond terms http://www.wbez.org/story/prosecutors-say-blagojevich-not-fulfilling-bond-terms-89157 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-14/RS663_AP090129057205-blago-serious-Nam-Y.-Huh.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>Prosecutors want a judge to order Rod Blagojevich&nbsp;to appear in court to sign what they contend is overdue paperwork&nbsp;allowing the ousted governor to remain free while awaiting&nbsp;sentencing.&nbsp;</div><div><br> In a filing this week, government attorneys say Blagojevich&nbsp;hasn't met bond conditions Judge James Zagel set after jurors&nbsp;convicted him on 17 of 20 corruption counts last month.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Zagel told Blagojevich he must secure the bond that's permitted&nbsp;him to remain free since his 2008 arrest by posting his Chicago&nbsp;home and another property. If he flees, he'd lose them.&nbsp;</div><div><br> The filing says defense attorneys have turned over some but not&nbsp;all necessary documentation.&nbsp;</div><div><br> Prosecutors want Zagel to require Blagojevich to come to court&nbsp;Friday.</div><div><br> A message left for Blagojevich attorney Sheldon Sorosky wasn't&nbsp;immediately returned.</div></p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 17:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/prosecutors-say-blagojevich-not-fulfilling-bond-terms-89157 Jurors field questions after convicting Blagojevich on 17 counts http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-06-27/jurors-field-questions-after-convicting-blagojevich-17-counts-88418 <p><p>Jurors who convicted Rod Blagojevich on 17 corruption charges on Monday said they did not buy the ex-Illinois governor's argument that his scheming was just talk.</p><p>Jurors said the charges that were were most clear cut had wire tapped phone calls as evidence.</p><p>Those calls show Blagojevich scheming to profit from his power to appoint a U-S senator, and jurors found him guilty on all 11 charges tied to that scheme.</p><p>The defense alleged it was all talk, but the jury saw action.</p><p>“There were several times where he said, you know, do it, push that, get that done,” said one juror. “I think that's where he crossed the line of just floating the idea and actually doing it.”</p><p>The jurors did not want to identify themselves, noting that the court will release their names on Tuesday.</p><p>They also refused to say how their votes were split on the two charges they could not reach a verdict on.</p><p>They said they'd made a pact not to do that.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Statement from the jury</strong></p><p>146 (Foreperson): As a jury we have felt privileged to be part of the process. We were thorough and detailed in examining the evidence for all 20 counts. We feel confident we have reached a fair and just verdict.</p><p><strong>How hard did you have to work on each of the counts?</strong></p><p>149: There were several times we had to vote and revote, listen to the tapes and relook at our notes in order to come to a happy medium to determine whether he was guilty or not guilty. The most difficult one we had was the tollway and the school counts. We didn’t feel there was enough evidence to go one way or the other, it was very difficult. &nbsp;We really had to dig deep and listen to the tapes and how they spoke to get the information out of the tapes.</p><p><strong>Organizing the counts</strong></p><p>146: We did [organize] mostly by putting them together, so school together, tollway together. It made looking at the evidence much easier.</p><p><strong>Reaction to Blagojevich testimony</strong></p><p>103: Because he was personable, it made it hard to separate that from what we had to do as jurors. We had to put aside the fact that we liked him or didn’t like him and just go by the evidence we were presented to us.</p><p><strong>Convicting on wire fraud counts</strong></p><p>103: evidence for that, just because there was tapes that we could listen to behind that, those counts were the easiest to go through. The ones where there were not tapes, the ones that just had witness testimony, those were a little tougher. Those were the ones we had to deliberate a little longer on. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>140: The senate seat was the most clear. We felt there was so much more evidence to go on – recording, the tapes that we listened to over and over again. We felt it was very clear that he was trying to make a trade for the senate seat in various aspects.</p><p><strong>Blagojevich testimony </strong></p><p>140: I honestly thought at times it was manipulative and I would have rather just heard the facts.</p><p>103: Showed he was human.</p><p><strong>Verdict changed without Blagojevich on stand</strong></p><p>136: I don’t think so, because we still had to look at the evidence.</p><p>103: His testimony did help a lot in some of the issues we were having with the tollway. His testimony made it so clear to us that what he was trying to do more than anything else with the tollway was get the capital bill through. &nbsp;I think if it were not for his testimony on that we would not have seen that as clearly.</p><p><strong>Without testimony, would have convicted on all counts?</strong></p><p>103: That’s hard to say.</p><p>140: I think we tried to look at all the evidence, not just his testimony, and many times put our personal feelings aside. And look at just what does the transcript say, what do the facts say.</p><p>103: And what do the jury instructions say as to what we’re supposed to look at for each count and what we’re supposed to consider for how do we find guilt versus non-guilt.</p><p><strong>Blagojevich cross first question, ‘convicted liar’</strong></p><p>103: That sacred us all to death. We were so nervous after that little segment of the trial. The trial up until then had not been very traumatic. As a juror going in, you don’t know what trial is like. You see trials on TV all the time and you think each and everyone is like Law and Order. And he came out and we were all just [taken aback].</p><p>140: We were all startled.</p><p><strong>Reaction to senate seat tape (‘f$#king golden’)</strong></p><p>179: There were a lot of calls that supported our verdict, it wasn’t just that alone. That tape was significant, that was the most memorable quote and not so much the only thing we made our decision on.</p><p><strong>Lisa Madigan to the senate</strong></p><p>149: He was being tried on attempting, not committing the crime. When you say you float an idea as opposed to asking someone to do it, that’s where you cross the line.</p><p><strong>Learning how politics work and whether the verdict will make a difference.</strong></p><p>146: I told my husband if he’s going to go into politics, he’s going to have to find a new wife. I think it sends a message. We know there’s a lot of bargaining that goes on behind scenes, in business and our everyday lives. But in this instance, when its someone representing the people, it crosses the line. And I think we sent a pretty clear message on it.</p><p><strong>On why the jury press conference. </strong></p><p>140: I think because we’re concerned about what will happen when we return to our normal lives. We have children who are concerned about the media coverage and we’re hoping that by doing this now that it will lessen what comes later.</p><p><strong>Profession</strong></p><p>146: I am retired. I was a director of music and liturgy at a church.</p><p><strong>The two no verdict counts</strong></p><p>146: I don’t think we found the evidence. We looked over everything we could, every witness, anything that would deal with that. And the evidence just wasn’t pointing to it. There was an overall scheme here and once you’re into that scheme you have to dissect those counts separately and I think we did a very good job dissecting that. Some people felt very strongly we had enough evidence and some felt we did not. We will not [disclose how the vote went]. We made a pact we were not going to do that.</p><p><strong>Particularly credible testimony.</strong></p><p>136: Bradley Tusk. We felt he had nothing to lose, he had nothing to gain or lose with his testimony.</p><p><strong>Testimony which was not credible</strong></p><p>149: Lon Monk, because he had lied to so many people. He had lied to Rod even prior to this. He was taking bribes and he was prosecuted. We really evaluated how we took what he really said.</p><p>103: With the school, it came down to Rod’s testimony or Tusk’s. And people were for or against him so that was a very difficult vote.</p><p><strong>First trial in jury discussion.</strong></p><p>103: that’s why we’re here. Because we don’t know anything about it. I never saw it, I really never heard what happened.</p><p><strong>Reaction to excessive objection</strong></p><p>103: As a juror it just made it harder to follow. There would be one thought and then an objection, so scratch that and on to the next one. With that many objections in any specific testimony, you’re let with one sentence at the end of the day.</p><p><strong>Judge bias in&nbsp; favor of government</strong></p><p>103: Some lawyers many not know how to act in a federal courtroom, so that’s what I chalked it up to. Whether that’s the case or not, I don’t know.</p><p><strong>Putting Blagojevich in prison</strong></p><p>140: it was very difficult. We know he’s human, he has a family. It was very difficult. Here’s all the evidence and I would come in thinking, OK he’s not guilty. And then gosh darn, Rod, you did it again. He proved beyond a reasonable doubt that we was guilty. And I tried to find anything I could to find him not guilty but the evidence was there.</p><p><strong>Closing argument</strong></p><p>140: [The government] presentation was really helpful. We wished we had that PowerPoint to bring back with us, because it was so clearly well organized and help us organize our thoughts. I think both sides did a good job trying to follow it.</p><p><strong>Wire fraud clarification</strong></p><p>146: I think it was one of those things we were looking at the meaning of the words in &nbsp;that situation, as they came back and we went through our jury instruction again it became pretty clear to us.</p><p><strong>Making the senate seat debate illegal</strong></p><p>140: When you make the ask, you push them, as a state official, the evidence is there.&nbsp; We all came in with all open minds. The toll way and the school were very difficult.</p><p>179: There were just several instances and several calls where he asked for different positions for the senate seat and different deals for it. So many times he brought it up to people who could do something about it. It wasn’t just one thing it was so many different times.</p><p><strong>Final thoughts</strong></p><p>146: These 12 people together were an amazing group of people. I think the United States would be proud of their system. They so wanted to keep innocence until proven guilty and they worked very hard to make sure every single detail was looked at to be fair and honest.</p><p><em>--Edited by Meghan Power</em></p></p> Mon, 27 Jun 2011 23:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-06-27/jurors-field-questions-after-convicting-blagojevich-17-counts-88418