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Aldermanic bribery scheme pushed by government?

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Defense attorneys for a former Chicago alderman on trial for bribery say it was government investigators who were really pushing a bribery scheme, not former Ald. Ambrosio Medrano. They’ll be pushing that angle in federal court again this morning as Medrano’s trial enters a second week.

Medrano did a couple years in prison in the 1990s for taking $31,000 in bribes as an alderman, and now he’s on trial for conspiring to pay a bribe to a public official in Los Angeles to win a contract.

Prosecutors have been playing secretly recorded phone calls for jurors but at times Medrano appears focused on pushing a quality product for a healthcare contract with L.A. County.

“That basically is a prescription drug program that’s being used by the county and they saved them I don’t know how many millions of dollars,” Medrano told the government’s confidential informant.

By contrast, the informant often brings the conversation around to payoffs. “I’ve been thinking now, what can we do to entice this guy,” the informant said in one recording.

Defense attorneys say the confidential informant desperately pushed the bribery scheme because he had his own legal troubles for failing to pay taxes and he was hoping to curry favor with prosecutors.

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