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ComEd-related trial could be pushed off until 2023

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2022

* Jon Seidel

A major public corruption trial set for late summer has been postponed because of a delay in another major trial set to begin soon at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse — the child pornography trial of R&B superstar R. Kelly.

U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber presides over both cases, which were scheduled for back-to-back trials this year. Kelly’s trial had been set for Aug. 1. Meanwhile, the ComEd bribery case involving four members of indicted former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner-circle had been set for trial Sept. 12.

The ComEd case involves Madigan’s co-defendant, Michael McClain. It had been set to take place amid this fall’s general election campaign and could ultimately serve as a preview of Madigan’s trial.

But Leinenweber announced Tuesday that the building’s ceremonial courtroom — its largest — won’t be available for Kelly’s trial until Aug. 15. That two-week delay was enough to knock the ComEd case off the calendar. During a hearing in that case, prosecutors began suggesting a trial in the spring, noting a conflict with another trial in January.

That could be the trial of former Madigan chief of staff Timothy Mapes, who is set to go to trial for perjury that month.

McClain attorney Patrick Cotter, however, said he thought a delay until spring seemed “a little excessive.” The judge agreed to set a status hearing for July 14 to try to set a new trial date.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

26 Comments »
  1. - 33rd ward - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:01 am:

    Still blows my mind, that a group of people can use citizens money to break the law, and then more citizens money to avoid going to jail. Just fine the citizens for the errors.


  2. - Seriously?! - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:11 am:

    Is this guy the only capable judge? Is there no one else that can hurry this along before one of the defendants, ehem, is unavailable to stand trial..?


  3. - Friendly Bob Adams - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:20 am:

    You would think they could manage to hold two trials at once… are there no other judges available?


  4. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:25 am:

    -You would think they could manage to hold two trials at once… are there no other judges available?-

    Judges are assigned randomly for a very good reason - to avoid corruption. It just so happens that this judge has two “heater” cases. Sending this case to a different judge would actually delay things, not speed things up.


  5. - Just Sayin - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:28 am:

    I wonder what we will hear next: “Because–R. Kelly” or Kelly saying “Madigan made me do it.”


  6. - Lucky Pierre - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:30 am:

    An 85 year old Judge is presiding over the two of the most high profile cases in the State?

    Why does the trial have to be delayed so it can be held in the “ceremonial courtroom”


  7. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:33 am:

    Delayed as the ceremonial courtroom will be in use? Pushing the ComEd’s Fab 4’s case will run into Tim Mapes’s case it seems anyway.

    We are in a pandemic, peeps: progress with R. Kelly’s and zoom the Fab 4’s case.


  8. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:36 am:

    ===Why does the trial have to be delayed so it can be held in the “ceremonial courtroom” ===

    Your frustration is palpable. The answer, of course, is Because… Madigan!


  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:39 am:

    ===Why does the trial have to be delayed so it can be held in the “ceremonial courtroom”===

    Guess it won’t be rolling during the fall election season.

    Is that why you’re so upset?


  10. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:41 am:

    That extinguished the “fuse” of the Illinois GOP’s November Surprise.


  11. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:44 am:

    Hopefully, Judge Leinenweber will reconsider during the status hearing in July.

    Let’s aim for the fall of ‘22 as MJM’s case, like Ald. Burke’s, will be in 2023.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:48 am:

    === Let’s aim for the fall of ‘22 as MJM’s case, like Ald. Burke’s, will be in 2023.===

    So politics should be considered in the blind judicial process?

    I can care less about the timing, it’s still shocking how long Burke’s pre-trial has been, and the one million documents notwithstanding… but when one may cheer when timing is maximized for… politics…


  13. - Lurker - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:56 am:

    🎵Take the Long Way Home🎶 to prison


  14. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 9:58 am:

    They want to do the trial in the ceremonial courtroom so they can fit as many media members and other observers as they can.


  15. - Pizza Man - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 10:00 am:

    @ 3 Dimensional Checkers…

    Yes indeed, it must be a donation-based courtroom. Maximize profits. :)


  16. - ;) - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 10:10 am:

    What “more citizens money” is being used exactly 33rd?


  17. - ChicagoBars - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 10:19 am:

    I haven’t been in even half the Dirksen courtrooms but I think many of them would be a tight fit for the ComEd defendants and, guessing here, the 2-4 lawyers per defendants for a long trial. Ceremonial courtroom is huge. Might also have best a/v for remote viewing? Just speculating there but white collar trials are lots and lots of lawyers.


  18. - Telly - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 10:34 am:

    == Is this guy the only capable judge? ==

    He is by far one of the best.


  19. - walker - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 10:45 am:

    Show trials have their place..


  20. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 10:52 am:

    R Kelly still deserves a ceremonial court room? How about just televising the trial in a regular court room. Or closed circuit to other rooms


  21. - Frumpy White Guy - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 11:24 am:

    Good news for the Dems running this November.


  22. - Just Sayin - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 11:36 am:

    ==R Kelly still deserves a ceremonial court room? How about just televising the trial in a regular court room. Or closed circuit to other rooms==

    Or move it to Judge Judy’s courtroom or anyone of those other TV judges, since it will be nothing more than a worldwide celebrity trial circus.


  23. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 11:42 am:

    “R Kelly still deserves a ceremonial court room?”

    R. Kelly, despicable he may be, deserves a fair trial and the judge feels he needs a larger room in which to hold a fair trial.

    – MrJM


  24. - Ares - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 12:54 pm:

    Federal Judges are randomly assigned at the start of a case, and can carry several hundred cases at a time, start to finish (and beyond). A trial puts the Judge’s (and the parties’, counsels’) lives “on hold” for weeks on end, with pretrial conferences, proposed jury instructions, requests to keep the jury from hearing certain evidence or testimony, and their resolution. 85, btw, is not old at all for the Federal system. Appeals Court Judge Bauer is in his 90s, and some Federal Judges have been known to preside over cases into their 90s, without missing a beat.


  25. - Just Sayin - Wednesday, Jun 22, 22 @ 7:01 pm:

    Could one of those trials seek a change of venue? Along the lines of “unfair jury.” Such as move R Kelly’s trial to the Western division’s Rockford courthouse, or even the ComEd one to the Central Division (perhaps Rock Island, Urbana or maybe Peoria)? Or even keep Comed in the Eastern Division but change R Kelly’s venue to the central? I don’t think the latter trial requires a ceremonial courtroom, it will already be shown on the likes of the E channel, Court Tv, etc. And talked about ad nauseum on national newscasts.


  26. - Huh? - Thursday, Jun 23, 22 @ 8:30 am:

    Wonder if Madigan et al could claim that their 6th amendment rights to a speedy trial are being violated by the delays.


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