Judge grants defense until next year to file motions in racketeering case against Madigan, McClain

Madigan McClain

Michael Madigan, left, and Michael McClain

The racketeering case against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and his longtime confidant will likely not see any significant court action until next year after a judge Tuesday granted the defense a lengthy extension to review the massive pile of evidence turned over by prosecutors.

In the first status hearing in the bombshell case in four months, U.S. District Judge Robert Blakey set a Feb. 1 deadline for the filing of pretrial motions, saying he was granting the delay “up front” so defense attorneys wouldn’t have to come back and ask for more time.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet Bhachu had asked for pretrial motions to be due sometime this year. The prosecutor said discovery was “substantially complete” in the case, and noted that Madigan “is being represented by a large and prestigious law firm” and has six criminal defense attorneys that have entered appearances for him.

But Patrick Cotter, who represents Madigan’s co-defendant, Michael McClain, said he and his team are busy preparing for McClain’s upcoming trial in March on separate charges involving an alleged scheme by Commonwealth Edison to bribe Madigan.

Cotter said he’d be at a significant disadvantage trying to go through the discovery in the Madigan case — including 201 discs of material turned over by the U.S. attorney’s office in the last five weeks alone — and preparing motions while also gearing up for a jury trial.

Blakey set a status hearing for Jan. 9.

Madigan, 79, and McClain, 74, were charged in March in a 22-count indictment alleging they conspired to participate an array of bribery and extortion schemes from 2011 to 2019, including a plot to steer payments from ComEd to member of Madigan’s vast political operation in exchange for the speaker’s help with legislation in Springfield.

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