ComEd Bribery Defendants Ask For Case to Be Dismissed, Cite Abe Lincoln, Blagojevich in Filing

By Benjamin Cox on June 3, 2021 at 10:03am

Lawyers for four individuals tied to the Commmonwealth Edison federal bribery case have asked for charges to be dismissed. The lawyers representing Michael McClain of Quincy Anne Pramaggiore, John Hooker and Jay Doherty asked U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber to toss several of the key elements of the case, including allegations of bribery conspiracy involving jobs doled out by ComEd to associates of former House Speaker Michael Madigan.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the lawyers claim there was no quid pro quo with Madigan to help pass favorable legislation in the Illinois General Assembly. The filing argues that the U.S. attorney’s office has improperly used the federal bribery statute to criminalize job recommendations forwarded by Madigan to ComEd officials. The lawyers have called the job recommendations a routine practice within the bounds of normal spoils system-type politics.

The Tribune says the filing cites the case against former Illinois Governor Rob Blagojevich, who famously argued in his case that his efforts to fill a U.S. Senate seat held by then President-elect Barack Obama in 2008 wasn’t tied to any political favors or campaign donations. It also references President Abraham Lincoln making a job recommendation in May 1863 that U.S. Trust Corporation hire the nephew of a Union Army general killed in a Civil War battle.

The motion marked the second legal challenge in the case since the indictment was brought last November. Last month, attorneys for Doherty argued that prosecutors had failed to present to the grand jury any evidence that jobs, internships, or board seats mentioned in the indictment were not real and true.

Madigan still has yet to be charged in the case.