Did McClain speak for the House speaker Michael Madigan? A legal battle to watch for in Madigan case


No a person seemed as well astonished when the famously reclusive former Illinois Home Speaker Michael J. Madigan built it all the way via his arraignment Wednesday on federal racketeering fees without having stating a solitary phrase.

His indictment isn’t much various. Madigan is definitely quoted deep in the 106-page bombshell document, but his opinions will not just go down in Chicago corruption historical past like Ald. Edward M. Burke’s: “did we land . . . the tuna?”

Madigan’s are much more along the traces of “OK . . . quite excellent.”

That does not essentially suggest the feds have a dilemma. Also charged is Michael McClain, a longtime Madigan ally who allegedly the moment advised ComEd officers in an e-mail, “I know the drill and so do you” and complained about spending “valuable minutes” on anything that could “provoke a response from our Friend” — meaning Madigan.

Simply because Madigan and McClain are charged as co-conspirators, authorized specialists forecast prosecutors will transfer to use these text, as very well as recorded statements from McClain, towards Madigan if the case ever goes to demo.

“And the defense is likely to want to maintain these recordings from coming in,” mentioned Nancy DePodesta, a previous federal prosecutor in Chicago who is now spouse and co-chair of the white-collar follow group at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr.

That can make it a legal struggle to enjoy for as Madigan’s scenario winds its way to a jury — a course of action that will most likely acquire years.


Lawyers for the two adult men declined to remark. McClain lawyer Patrick Cotter has earlier said prosecutors have attempted to get McClain to cooperate “for a long time,” but “he will under no circumstances testify falsely about himself or any person.”

Madigan and McClain are charged with a racketeering conspiracy in the remarkably predicted March 2 indictment. They each pleaded not guilty by means of their lawyers during an arraignment held by cell phone. True to variety, Madigan did not talk. McClain, who had difficulty finding on the line, apologized to the decide for being “electronically challenged.”

The indictment alleged the two adult men — together with Madigan’s regulation business, the speaker’s office environment, the 13th Ward Democratic Organization and some others — formed the “Madigan Business,” which was created to enrich Madigan and his allies, and to develop Madigan’s political power.

The doc alleges techniques involving ComEd and former Ald. Danny Solis (25th), whom it claims labored undercover for the FBI, “a truth that was unfamiliar to the defendants prior to in or around January 2019.” That is when the Sun-Periods discovered Solis’ cooperation.

Madigan is quoted immediately at moments. For case in point, immediately after Solis instructed Madigan on March 27, 2018, that a progress group would “appreciate it” and give company to Madigan’s non-public regulation firm if Madigan could assistance aid the transfer of a Chinatown assets from the condition to the town, Madigan allegedly explained, “OK, all appropriate, extremely great.”

And following Solis said on Aug. 2, 2018, that he wished an appointment to a condition board that paid out extra than $100,000 a year, Madigan allegedly advised Solis, “just go away it in my hands” right before inquiring Solis to help Madigan’s son.

But the indictment also states “Madigan directed the functions of his shut close friend and associate, McClain, who carried out illegal activity at Madigan’s path.” And at any time due to the fact the feds very first charged ComEd with bribery in July 2020, they’ve portrayed McClain as a Madigan surrogate, pressuring ComEd officials to give employment, contracts and dollars to associates of the then-speaker.

“I would say to you don’t put anything in composing . . . all it can do is hurt ya,” McClain allegedly informed a ComEd executive in February 2019, in accordance to data in the ComEd situation.

Defense lawyers could argue McClain, a ComEd lobbyist at the time, experienced his own separate agenda.

To use McClain’s statements towards Madigan, DePodesta mentioned prosecutors will have to exhibit first that a conspiracy existed involving the two adult men, and then that the statements in concern have been designed “during and in furtherance” of that conspiracy.

She said they’ll have to clearly show their allegations are additional very likely genuine than not. And to support fulfill their load, they’ll have Solis and Fidel Marquez, a onetime ComEd government who pleaded responsible to a bribery conspiracy in 2020, agreeing to cooperate with the feds.

Prosecutors would make their situation in what’s recognised as a Santiago proffer, commonly a remarkably specific doc submitted nearer to demo.

One particular illustration in the indictment of McClain allegedly speaking for Madigan comes amid a scheme in which the feds say Madigan agreed to use his place as Home speaker to support with the transfer of the Chinatown property to obvious the way for the development group’s proposal.

The indictment alleges Madigan assigned McClain to do the job on the transfer. Then, all around Dec. 18, 2017, it suggests Solis explained to McClain that, “in the previous, I have been in a position to steer some function to Mike [Madigan], and these men will do the same thing.”

Soon after listening to that, the indictment alleges McClain manufactured an agreement — that Madigan would assistance with the Chinatown property transfer.


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