Despite cache of secret FBI recordings, ex-ComEd CEO tells jurors in bribery trial she didn’t view Madigan as an ally of utility


CHICAGO — Federal jurors have spent five weeks listening to the voice of former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, caught in a cache of secret FBI recordings in which prosecutors say she conspired with her colleagues to bribe then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

But late Thursday, the polished former energy executive and theater major finally got the chance to speak directly to the people who will help decide her fate. 

Pramaggiore took the witness stand in the ComEd bribery trial and told the jury she never viewed Madigan as an ally of the utility she led. She also denied that a longtime Madigan friend on trial beside her, Michael McClain, ever claimed that Madigan owed ComEd a favor.

Alternating her gaze between the jury and her defense attorney, Pramaggiore explained how she began to grow her “professional” relationship with Madigan on a trip to Turkey sponsored by a nonprofit. She called Madigan a “very quiet person” who “doesn’t say a lot.” 

“We had mutual respect for each other,” Pramaggiore said of Madigan. “It was, you know, somewhat remote. I didn’t see him a lot. But when I did, I think we had regard for each other.”

However, Pramaggiore’s testimony began only 50 minutes before the scheduled end of court Thursday. That meant it barely had time to scratch the surface of the case before the trial wrapped up itsfifth week. Pramaggiore’s defense attorney, Scott Lassar, will likely have far more questions to ask when the trial resumes Monday.

But that’ll be the easy part. When Lassar is finished, Pramaggiore will surely face a vigorous cross-examination by federal prosecutors in the high-stakes case. They gave her a hint Thursday of what might be to come with their questioning of another witness called by Pramaggiore’s legal team — Joseph Dominguez, another former ComEd CEO.

Pramaggiore, McClain, ex-ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and onetime City Club President Jay Doherty are accused of arranging for jobs, contracts and money for various Madigan allies in an illegal bid to sway Madigan as legislation crucial to ComEd moved through Springfield.

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