"ComEd Four" found guilty in federal bribery trial
A federal jury found the "ComEd Four" defendants guilty of charges that they conspired to bribe former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for favorable legislation for ComEd.
Why it matters: The verdict, announced Tuesday, bolsters the federal government's case against Madigan, who is facing trial next year for corruption and bribery charges.
- Madigan had been a focal point in the probe of the four defendants.
Driving the news: Former lobbyist and lawmaker Michael McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, ex-ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and former City Club president Jay Doherty were convicted of bribery conspiracy on Tuesday.
- They're each facing up to five years in prison.
- The decision comes after the jury deliberated for over a week, poring over hundreds of documents and hours of secret wiretap recordings, including phone calls with Madigan himself.
Catch up fast: Federal prosecutors tried to portray Madigan as a greedy politician who wanted to get jobs for his friends by abusing his relationship with ComEd.
- They alleged that because Madigan was prohibited by law from giving his cronies public sector jobs, he found a workaround with the private utility company. And they accused ComEd executives and lobbyists of actively working to make that happen.
The other side: The defense portrayed Madigan as a shrewd, powerful politician who wouldn't waste his time on a couple of board appointments.
- They argued the former speaker was a master politician who knew where the ethical guard rails were and wouldn't go near something as rudimentary as a bribery scheme.
The intrigue: For Illinois political junkies, the trial gave insight into how Speaker Madigan ran his political operation, which was largely shrouded in secrecy.
What they're saying: "The behavior brought to light and put on display at this trial was shockingly gluttonous and unhealthy to democracy," Illinois Senate President Don Harmon said in a statement.
- "We've taken concrete steps to discourage bad behavior. But most importantly, I believe we have people committed to behaving better."
What's next: No sentencing hearings have been set. Madigan's corruption trial is scheduled for April 2024.
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