CHICAGO (CBS) — Secret recordings have been revealed in the case against Ald. Ed Burke (14th).
The bribery and extortion case against Burke may have fallen to the back of our minds amid the coronavirus pandemic, but federal authorities reminded us today that they continue to build their case.
READ MORE: Matteson, Tinley Park Now Have Walk-In COVID Vaccine Sites, Open Through Saturday
As CBS 2 Political Editor Dana Kozlov reported Wednesday, the government’s 200-page response gives much more insight into its corruption case against Burke. There are new details about the alleged bribery schemes, and there is also confirmation about which former alderman is helping prosecutors.
Further, there is a claim that Burke made an anti-Semitic remark.
Wednesday marked the first in-person City Council meeting in more than a year, and the indicted Ald. Burke showed up for it – greeted with a fist bump by Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Hours later, the U.S. Attorney’s office filed that 200-page response to 17 motions previously filed by Burke’s lawyers in his corruption case.
“The thing I took out of this is the case is no longer in limbo,” said CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller. “It’s back on track to be set for trial.”
The government’s filing gives new details about how Burke allegedly tried to get the managers and developers of the Old Main Post Office to hire his law firm in exchange for help with city issues and permits.
The documents said former Ald. Danny Solis was an intermediary in the alleged bribery, identified in the documents as “Alderman A.” In the court documents, prosecutors stated, “Alderman A was alderman of the 25th Ward in Chicago,” adding Solis began cooperating with the feds in August 2016.
And then there is this comment from Burke, in discussing the Post Office scheme:
“[W]ell, you know as well as I do, Jews are Jews and they’ll deal with Jews to the exclusion of everybody else unless… unless there’s a reason for them to use a Christian.”
READ MORE: COVID In Illinois: 2,765 New Cases, 28 Additional Deaths
The defense wants that tossed. Prosecutors say it is relevant.
Miller believes Burke’s attorneys could win with regard to getting the comment tossed.
“So I’m saying there is an innocent interpretation to that, and therefore I think there’s a good chance the judge may say, ‘I’m sorry you can’t use that line in front of the jury,’” Miller said.
In November 2018 when federal agents raided his office, Burke said, “I’ve always cooperated, and there’s never anything found to be in this.”
Burke later pleaded not guilty.
In 2019, Mayor Lightfoot called for Burke’s resignation. On Wednesday, despite the earlier fist-bump, she said of Burke, “I just think there’s no place in public life for somebody like him who used his office in a corrupt fashion.”
Mayor Lightfoot also said Wednesday that Burke, like everyone else, is innocent until proven guilty.
This case has been languishing more than two years in the courts and was delayed by COVID-19. It is not clear when the next hearing or status date will be.
He was originally changed in January 2019 and was indicted by a grand jury in May of that year.
There had been no response from Burke or his attorneys as of late Wednesday.
MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker In Illinois
Kozlov reported that after the City Council meeting on Wednesday, he told reporters he will comment in court.