‘I will keep pressing’: Jurors hear then ComEd CEO taking orders from McClain as trial breaks for Easter weekend

Anne Pramaggiore

Former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore

Former McPier boss Juan Ochoa took the stand Thursday in the trial of four political power players and told the tale of his appointment to ComEd’s board — a seemingly typical Chicago backroom deal involving then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Then, prosecutors played another set of phone calls secretly recorded by the FBI in which ComEd officials spoke candidly about the appointment, because they thought no one was listening.

Jurors then heard Michael McClain — a Madigan confidant who had no obvious role in the matter — brokering the deal in 2018 between Madigan and Anne Pramaggiore, who was then ComEd’s CEO. McClain told Pramaggiore on May 16, 2018, that Madigan “would appreciate it” if Pramaggiore “would keep pressing” to get the deal done.

“OK, got it,” Pramaggiore said upon hearing that instruction. “I will keep pressing.”

The testimony of Ochoa, and the recordings played for the jury immediately afterward, capped the fourth week in the trial of McClain, Pramaggiore, ex-ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and onetime City Club President Jay Doherty.

The four are accused of conspiring over nearly a decade to bribe Madigan by arranging for jobs, contracts and money for Madigan’s associates, all while legislation crucial to ComEd moved through Springfield. The recordings played Thursday appear to be another example of ComEd officials bending over backwards to please the powerful politician.

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