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Welch to Maxwell: “I didn’t hit a woman,” denies he was arrested

Friday, Jan 15, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Mark Maxwell at WCIA TV interviewed Speaker Welch yesterday

The full interview will be posted later when his Capitol Connection program airs Sunday morning.

* Relevant transcript excerpts

Maxwell: What level of press access can you commit to?

Welch: I know what you’re doing, you just want to do your job. And I do believe, from this perspective, government should be transparent.

Maxwell: Even if it’s uncomfortable at times?

Welch: Absolutely. I don’t like all the questions you ask, you know that, but you gotta be transparent. […]

Maxwell: Did you mean 20 years ago, that younger version of yourself was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that that younger version of yourself hit a woman?

Welch: I didn’t hit a woman. But I still think I could have handled the situation differently. I think, the way you handle a situation to something that either escalate or de-escalate. Obviously, I didn’t handle the situation to the point where someone didn’t get so upset that they went and made a police report. I can say in that incident, I cooperated fully, answered all questions. And that’s all there was was a police report. There was no arrest there was no charges. And that was 20 years ago.

Maxwell: The police report says there was an arrest, you’re disputing that now that there was not?

Welch: I was asked to come down to the station and answer questions a couple hours later, they said, ‘Mr. Welch, you’re free to go.’

Maxwell aside: That’s one reason he defended Speaker Madigan’s rights to due process during the ComEd corruption case. Welch said he and the entire black community knows how it feels to be wrongly accused. He plans to bring that perspective from a life as a black man in America to his new job.

Welch: Here in 2021, a state that was founded in 1818, for the first time we have a Black person as Speaker of the House. If that doesn’t give you hope, I don’t know what does.

The police report claims he was arrested, but we’ll need to check the actual records.

* On to the Tribune

Hours before a General Assembly was to be inaugurated and still short the votes he needed to be elected speaker, Emanuel “Chris” Welch intensified his campaign to persuade House Democrats he should be the one to lead them after Michael Madigan’s decadeslong tenure.

“I spent time going member by member, talking to each and every one of them, to try to address their concerns,” Welch said in a phone interview Thursday. “There were no specific promises made, but everything comes down to people knowing you and trusting you and believing in you. And the fact that I listened to them and heard what their concerns were, I think was extremely important. I know what everyone’s issues are.” […]

Welch said Thursday the allegations “have come up in every election that I’ve been in.” He said that if anyone undertakes an investigation “and comes to me, I’ll cooperate, just like I’ve always done.”

“But I think people need to move away from the distractions and focus on the difficult work ahead,” Welch said.

* Rep. Lance Yednock was one of the few Democrats who voted “Present” in the election

The second-term Yednock didn’t join 70 others in the House in voting for Emanuel Chris Welch to be the new speaker. He says the process was too fast with many candidates changing by the day. Yednock says Welch was one of the last candidates to join the process and he never had a chance for a personal meeting to learn his views. With that in mind Yednock says he wasn’t comfortable voting on a new speaker without more time to choose.

The Democrat from Ottawa does say he supports Welch and is hoping to hear more from him in the near future.

* Related…

* Backers, former opponents enthused by Welch as Speaker

* Tarver, Buckner vote for Welch as House speaker, replacing Madigan


  1. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 10:44 am:

    Not the best headline.

    I feel like Madigan and the House Dem caucus enablers of him, including Welch, have set Welch up to fail.

    By letting Madigan hang on too long and not letting a real campaign for Speaker happen with real vetting over a period of days and weeks instead of making the decision last minute in the dark of night, Welch and the House Dem caucus were deprived of a chance to address his past issues in a more delicate way.

    It is very damaging to have him simultaneously being introduced to the state as a whole as the new Speaker and a guy with questions about his past treatment of women.

    The secretive rushed process the pro-Madigan faction undertook to install Welch as his successor makes the allegations against Welch look worse and like he has something to hide.

    Not a good look guys.

  2. - @misterjayem - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 10:49 am:

    What he wanted to say, “I didn’t hit a woman, but I’m about to hit you, even if you are trying to do your job.”

    You should leave this blog and use your mind-reading powers to fight crime.

    – MrJM

  3. - Commisar Gritty - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 10:53 am:

    I’m with MrJM on this, also please send me the next Powerball numbers on your way out.

    And nobody wants to hit Maxwell, he’s a nice guy. Damn good at his job too.

  4. - Swimdad13 - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 10:54 am:

    He can be the Speaker but would have a hard time qualifying as a police officer under the new reform bill.

  5. - Numbers matter - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 10:59 am:

    This is the worst headline possible. Behind on this already. And talk to the media less.

  6. - Swimdad13 - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:03 am:

    =”And talk to the media less.”=

    …as in less transparency? Really?

  7. - @misterjayem - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:04 am:

    “He can be the Speaker but would have a hard time qualifying as a police officer under the new reform bill.”

    Do we issue a firearm to the Speaker?

    – MrJM

  8. - Kayak - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:06 am:

    Looking forward to the whole transcript. I think I would have asked were you fingerprinted, were you placed in a holding cell, and how long were you at the police station. Also, in your own words, define “arrest”. Questions about Madigan seem irrelevant to the alleged “arrest”.

  9. - TR - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:09 am:

    Yednock’s concerns about the rushed vetting process are legit and most of his colleagues know it. A lot of House dems will be holding their breathe for the next week or two.

    And Kelly Cassidy can sleep well knowing she might be the only person in Springfield free of #metoo hypocrisy right now.

  10. - DuPage Dave - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:16 am:

    He’s off to a bad start. If a policeman says “you’re under arrest”, you have been arrested. The police report clearly says there was an arrest. It’s simply wrong to say it did not happen.

  11. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:20 am:

    - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 10:44 am:

    If it weren’t for MJM, no one would know the Illinois House Speaker. People in other states who are legislative leaders do not have this level of recognition.

  12. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:24 am:

    Welch’s messaging is not great. MJM would have deflected these types of questions. Unfortunately, his voluntary statement to Maxwell now re-hashes the old incident and the press should/will look to clarify if he was indeed arrested.

  13. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:24 am:

    re: the issue of in custody versus arrest, it might sound technical to most people, but it’s an important legal difference and the former (”in custody)” is often used to bully and coerce people into cooperating with police. You to be formally arrested you have to be mirandized.

  14. - Disgruntled IL Democrat - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:24 am:

    I’ve been critical of Welch in the comments on here the past couple of days. While I’m still alarmed by the entirety of the incidents with women, I think he handled this interview about as good as he could have. At the same time, he had to clarify this and definitively say “I didn’t hit a woman” because in his initial statement he didn’t clearly deny it.

    == This is the worst headline possible. ==

    Seriously? I could think of so many headlines that would be worse. The allegations are out there and will continue to be discussed. That means the headline on these stories will always plant the seed in the reader’s mind that he could be guilty of hitting a woman. Better to have a clear denial than whatever else it may be. Obviously, it’s not an amazing headline for him, but that isn’t really in the cards.

    All of that aside, I hope he continues to be asked important questions about his past, works to improve the culture for women in Springfield, elevates women in the caucus, and champions legislation that will improve the lives of women throughout Illinois.

  15. - Commisar Gritty - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:32 am:

    @SwimDad14. 40%

  16. - Kayak - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:36 am:


    Miranda is not required to arrest. Only to question.

  17. - thisjustinagain - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:43 am:

    As to being ‘Mirandized’, the legal requirement is that you be in custody (not free to leave the officer’s presence or the police station), and that you are being questioned about a crime. You don’t normally Mirandize someone on the street; that’s Hollywood/TV drama. If an officer wrote Welch was arrested in the official report, then he was, but an officer may release someone without charges after determining that there is no grounds for the arrest (see 725 ILCS 5/107-6) (from Ch. 38, par. 107-6).

  18. - Marcus - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 11:46 am:

    Mr. Welch has been a busy guy.

  19. - Pizza Man - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 12:16 pm:

    So was he arrested or he was free go home and ‘report’ later to the police station? Rrrright?

    Keep mind though an adult, he was not a sitting member. Thus, I highly doubt then that the cops; “All good Chris, we’ll see you later?”

    Maxwell asks; “did you hit?” Technically and allegedly , per the report, that he ’slammed’ the accuser to the countertop a couple of times.

  20. - The Most Anonymous - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 12:28 pm:

    I believe Speaker Welch is telling the truth when he says he didn’t hit a woman. I don’t think he was accused of hitting her, he was accused of slamming her head on the counter.

  21. - Leslie K - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 12:36 pm:

    ===You to be formally arrested you have to be mirandized.===

    Um, no. Most people under arrest are never Mirandized because they are never interrogated about the crime (think Retail Theft, Drinking on the Public Way, etc.). Arrest (taken into custody) and Miranda (interrogated while in custody) are two different issues.

  22. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 12:45 pm:

    i have seen Black elected officials put through this wringer so often, it feels like I am watching an episode of Good Times for the 17th time.

    Speaker Welch, no more interviews until next week, okay?

  23. - Anon y mouse - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 2:02 pm:

    Welch is a lawyer…he knows if he was arrested or not. The police report is, well, evidence of his arrest. Why is he being less than truthful about this item? And how does it bode as to the substance of the allegations?

  24. - Pizza Man - Friday, Jan 15, 21 @ 2:23 pm:

    Whether a lawyer or a plumber…he should know if he was arrested. Period. An unforgettable moment it is not.

  25. - Mayo Sandwich - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 12:59 pm:

    == Whether a lawyer or a plumber…he should know if he was arrested. Period. An unforgettable moment it is not.==

    I’m sure he remembers the incident. A lot of people have trouble knowing if they are arrested or not. A lawyer even wrote a blog on it.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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