Good afternoon! Can we call it a week already? No? My editor is shaking his head. Well, how about a raise? Now he’s walking away. Anyway, here’s what you need to know today.
A federal jury this week convicted four former political insiders in a decadelong conspiracy to bribe Michael Madigan, the once powerful speaker of the Illinois House.
The fallout “may take months or maybe years to sort out, but a federal jury appeared to make a forceful statement with its verdicts. It strongly disliked how Springfield does business,” writes WBEZ’s Dave McKinney.
The across-the-board guilty verdicts could ignite new ethics reforms in the statehouse, but ruling Democrats in Springfield have so far been quiet.
“Here we are, after what is an extraordinarily dramatic trial, and it’s been crickets,” said Joe Ferguson, Chicago’s former inspector general. “It is abundantly clear from what has played out at this trial and what we have all learned, this is not the way we should be governed.” [WBEZ]
Meanwhile, several jurors told the Chicago Sun-Times they didn’t believe the defense’s argument that the jobs and money sent to Madigan’s allies were part of legal lobbying. [Chicago Sun-Times]
In what could be his most consequential decision yet, Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson today named Fred Waller to serve as temporary police superintendent when Johnson is sworn into office later this month.
Waller retired from the department in 2020 after serving 34 years on the force. He rose through the ranks to chief of patrol, chief of operations and third in command.
“His tenure as interim superintendent could be a trial run for the permanent job, especially if Chicago makes it through without the traditional summer surge of violent crime or a repeat of the videotaped downtown mayhem that gave Chicago another black eye around the world last month,” write my colleagues Fran Spielman and David Struett.
Johnson has vowed to choose an insider to lead the department on a permanent basis, a move partly aimed at boosting morale among rank-and-file officers. [Chicago Sun-Times]
3. A video of a controversial, fatal police shooting in Chicago was released today. Here’s what we know so far.
Reginald Clay Jr. was shot and killed after a foot chase with Chicago Police last month on the West Side, and authorities have provided few details about the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Today, the city’s police watchdog released body camera footage of the shooting that shows Clay holding a gun as he turned toward officers, reports my colleague Tom Schuba.
“Clay is seen turning toward the officers with a gun in his right hand before he shifts the weapon to his left hand and apparently tries to put it down on a back porch,” Schuba reports. “An officer opens fire as Clay appears to scream and grab for his chest.”
Clay’s family has filed a federal lawsuit accusing a Chicago officer of using “unprovoked and unwarranted” force and violating the department’s foot chase policy. [Chicago Sun-Times]
The number of openly LGBTQ+ council members will grow from seven to nine when the new council is sworn in on May 15, comprising one-fifth of the city’s legislative body, reports Block Club Chicago.
That’s the most LGBTQ+ representation in Chicago’s City Council ever, and the most out of any city council in the nation, according to the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, a political action committee that helps elect LGBTQ+ candidates.
The growing number of LGBTQ+ council members shows the community is not just confined to the North Side’s Boystown neighborhood. And that means resources typically found on the North Side need to be expanded across the city, several members say.
“The Black LGBTQ community still faces high rates of unemployment, HIV and housing instability, so those are all issues that I want to be able to work on,” said Lamont Robinson, who will become the first Black, openly gay man to serve on the council. [Block Club Chicago]
Unions representing thousands of movie and television writers went on strike this week for the first time in 16 years.
Among their demands is better compensation that takes into account the rise of streaming services. And they also want restrictions on the use of artificial intelligence, which has become a growing concern, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
A consultant for Fortune 500 companies said she has already been asked about how AI could be utilized while writers are on the picket line.
“I’ve had a couple of higher-level people ask, if a strike does happen, how quickly could they spin up an AI system to just write the scripts? And they’re serious,” said Amy Webb, who is the founder and CEO of Future Today Institute. [Hollywood Reporter]
Here’s what else is happening
- The Federal Reserve today raised interest rates for the 10th time in a little over a year. [Washington Post]
- A text message from Tucker Carlson sparked a sequence of events that ended with his ouster from Fox News. [New York Times]
- Elon Musk threatened to reassign NPR’s Twitter account to “another company.” [NPR]
- George Michael, Missy Elliott, Kate Bush and Willie Nelson are among this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees. [AP]
Oh, and one more thing …
Just an advanced heads up: Mother’s Day is May 14.
If you’re having trouble trying to think of gift ideas, Wirecutter has a good roundup of 19 of the “best Mother’s Day gifts.”
It includes a wide range of items, from flowers to a pickleball bag to a lemon tree, which actually sounds really cool to have in my apartment.
And if my mom is reading this, I already got your gift and it’s not from the Wirecutter list. [New York Times]
Tell me something good …
It doesn’t feel like summer today, but we’re now in the summer movie season. My colleague Richard Roeper recently wrote about the movies he’s looking forward to seeing this summer.
“Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom! My brother and I were in grammar school when it came out and my parents surprised us with a half day of school (which NEVER happens in our house) and took us to the movies to see it! Great movie and a wonderful family memory!”
Paul Teodo writes:
“Hands down. Jaws. One of the all time summer movie lines. ‘You’re gonna need a bigger boat!’ RIP Roy Scheider.”
And Ian Mason writes:
“When I was growing up in the ’90s, America went through a phase of really being enthralled/fascinated by disaster movies, and chief among them in ’96 was Independence Day. (It’s literally named after the most summer-y of all holidays!)
“The ‘this is our Independence Day’ speech never fails to get the blood pumping. It’s so cheesy and earnest but Pullman really sells it as the beleaguered, young president.”
Feel free to email or tweet me, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.