In closing arguments, feds hammer at ‘stunning’ stream of benefits to Madigan while defense calls bribery charges ‘collateral damage’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Seth Perlman/AP/Shutterstock (6232081a)
Michael Madigan Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, waits to address lawmakers at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. On, Madigan criticized unions for their stance on the state's pension situation and says their proposal for a summit on the matter is "not timely
Illinois Pensions Speaker, Springfield, USA

A defense attorney for a longtime friend of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan called on a federal jury Monday to “be the shield” between a private citizenand a “very powerful government committed, dedicated and on a mission to get Mike Madigan.”

But federal prosecutors asked that same jury to reject the idea that a “stunning” stream of benefits allegedly delivered to Madigan by that friend and three others amounted to anything other than bribery, albeit not in the traditional cash-in-an-envelope sense. 

“There isn’t an envelope big enough in this world to fit all the money that they made ComEd pay out,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur said. 

The comments came as lawyers spent more than five hours Monday making their closing arguments in the trial of four former political power players on trial for a conspiracy to bribe Madigan. On trial are Madigan confidant Michael McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, ex-ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and onetime City Club President Jay Doherty.

The four are accused of arranging for jobs, contracts and money for Madigan allies in an illegal bid to sway Madigan as legislation crucial to ComEd moved through Springfield. Their trial is now in its seventh week, and jurors could begin deliberating Tuesday.

Madigan, along with McClain, is charged with racketeering in a separate indictment and faces trial in April 2024.

Central to the current trial is an allegation that ComEd paid $1.3 million to five Madigan allies through various intermediaries, including a consulting firm owned by Doherty. The recipients of that money allegedly did little or no work for it, and MacArthur said the defendants knew it.

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