Madigan’s Office Questioned On Handling of Disclosure of Search Warrant

By Benjamin Cox on February 5, 2020 at 8:31am

Sangamon County State's Attorney Dan Wright

Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan had to defend the way his office handled a sexual misconduct investigation. Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright said that Madigan’s office ignored a nondisclosure order contained in a search warrant for his office last week seeking information into former State Representative Jack Franks’ sexual misconduct. Through a FOIA request by the Chicago Sun-Times reported on Friday, the public was made aware of an Illinois State Police investigation at Madigan’s Springfield offices.

Wright said that the nondisclosure agreement was in place to protect the victim of the alleged misconduct and has requested that the remainder of the investigation be placed under seal. A paragraph in the warrant signed by Judge John Madonia says the issuance and execution of the warrant “shall not be disclosed” because it could impede the investigation being conducted. ISP investigators also said that they repeatedly instructed recipients of the Search Warrant that the January 29th Order prohibited disclosure. Wright said that recipients of the search warrant disclosed the information in a Freedom of Information Act request to the press the same day the warrant was executed.

Further questions have been raised about Madigan’s actions toward Franks. In its statement Friday, Madigan’s office said it received an initial complaint in November 2018 about alleged sexual harassment by a former state representative, investigated and found the complaint credible. Madigan’s office said appropriate law enforcement agencies were informed the following year. Some have questioned why the investigation wasn’t made public earlier. Franks, who now serves at the McHenry County Board Chairman, has fully denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged in the case.