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Mapes found guilty of perjury and obstruction - Sentencing set for January 10

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This post will be updated…

He’s facing 20 years on the obstruction charge and 5 years for perjury.

…Adding… Alaina Hampton…

Alaina Hampton issued the following statement on Thursday following a jury’s decision to convict Tim Mapes of perjury:

“I have always said that my experience was the symptom of a toxic culture, and that it started at the top. Tim Mapes was as close to the top as it gets.

“Through these court proceedings, we have all had the chance to read the transcripts and listen to the recorded phone calls of Mapes and his closest colleagues strategizing in their efforts to undermine the Me Too movement in Illinois. None of it comes as a surprise.

“The Defense attempted to paint Tim Mapes as a victim worthy of pity after his resignation. It seems clear they were intentionally trying to divert attention from the reason for his resignation in the first place–his habitual sexual harassment and bullying of Sherri Garrett.

“Today’s verdict was an important step in the direction of full justice. But there’s more to be done.”

* Leader McCombie…

In light of the guilty verdict handed to Tim Mapes, former Speaker Mike Madigan’s right-hand man, House Republican Leader Tony McCombie issued the following statement:
“We have had too many glaring reminders that we must eliminate bad actors, self-serving politicians, and corruption from our statehouse, and this is just another verdict to prove it. It would be appalling if Speaker Welch did not move forward legislation House Republicans have filed to address ethics and instill public trust in our government.”
“While I strongly believe reform should start in the House, if Speaker Welch continues to stall on reforming the corrupt practices of this state, I hope President Harmon and the Senate will take the lead.”

* Sherri Garrett…

Following is a statement from Sherri Garrett regarding today’s verdict in Tim Mapes’ federal perjury trial. Garrett is the former Illinois House staff member whose public statements about her sexual harassment by then-Chief of Staff Mapes led to his resignation in 2018.

“Through the course of this trial, we’ve learned about the ways that Mr. Mapes and the rest of the inner circle of that organization worked to discredit those of us who were speaking out about our toxic work environment. My experience speaking out about the sexual harassment I endured in 2018 was painful–and more painful was knowing that there were countless others like me who were too afraid of Mr. Mapes to come forward and speak their own truths. I hope that those individuals feel some relief today, as I know I do. I remain hopeful, as I have all along, that more people will now feel safe coming forward, knowing that their stories can lead to real change.”

* Tribune story

The jury of six men and six women deliberated for about 5 hours before delivering the verdict in U.S. District Judge John Kness’ courtroom.

Mapes, 68, of Springfield, faces up to 20 years in prison on the attempted obstruction count, while perjury calls for a maximum of five years behind bars.

The decision marked the conclusion of a nearly three-week criminal case that centered on relatively straightforward charges yet delved deeply into the behind-the-scenes political intrigue of the scandals that rocked Madigan’s office and ended his decadeslong grip on power.

The panel sent out only two notes during the deliberations Thursday, asking for a copies of the grand jury transcript of Mapes’ questioning as well as the indictment. The judge promised to send a hard copies back to the jury room.

* Rep. Kelly Cassidy…

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy issued the following statement on Thursday in response to the
conviction of Tim Mapes:

“Today’s verdict is a vindication for those who, over the years, were willing to stand up and speak out in the face of injustice and abuse by Mapes and his boss. More importantly, I hope it brings closure and some peace to those who shared their stories with me privately but still feared retribution from Mapes. Testimony in this trial showed the extent to which he retained a hand in the Speaker’s political operation, perhaps justifying their concern.”

“Anyone who has spent any time at all in the Capitol has to have found the defense’s attempt to portray Mapes as a victim who was ‘devastated’ by his completely justified removal as Madigan’s Chief of Staff and Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Illinois laughable at best. Mapes used his power to deliver abuse, harassment, and bullying customized for maximum impact on his victims.”

“We’ve taken some important steps forward, but it’s critical that we remain vigilant to prevent future entrenchment and concentration of power while we continue to expand protections for those who experience harassment in the Capitol.”

* Rep. Haas…

In response to the guilty verdict of former chief of staff to Michael Madigan, Tim Mapes, Assistant House Minority Leader Jackie Haas (R-Kankakee) released the following statement:

“Another day, another conviction. If this isn’t a glaring sign that the culture of corruption that has plagued our state government must end, I don’t know what is. Although House Republicans are the minority in the House, we will always call out a problem when we see it. Why isn’t the revolving door halted? Why is self-interest placed above public service? Why are Republican bills to impose leadership term limits in the General Assembly, empower the Legislative Inspector General, and impose a 3-year lobbying ban for General Assembly members still stuck in Rules Committee?

“These principles are more important now than ever, and I certainly hope they are a top priority in the upcoming veto session in October.”

* HRO…

Statement from House Republican Organization Following Guilty Verdict in Mapes Trial

SPRINGFIELD - “In the end, protecting Madigan and his corrupt system at all costs comes with consequences. With yet another conviction in the string of corruption trials in Illinois, a jury again sees clearly that those who were working to protect Madigan’s criminal enterprise were not working for the good of Illinois. This guilty verdict is a good step towards holding the insiders accountable but more reform must be done to tear down the Madigan system.” - Tony Esposito, Executive Director of the Illinois House Republican Organization

* In response to Leader McCombie’s statement, here’s Speaker Welch’s spokesperson, Jaclyn Driscoll…

In addition to electing a new Speaker, hiring a new chief of staff, and building a new, diverse leadership team, the House recently passed comprehensive ethics reform, which Republicans voted against, and hired a new Legislative Inspector General who has a reputation of tenacity and independence. Speaker Welch has always said he believes in due process, and a guilty verdict is a signal the law is working. However, if the minority leader has any ideas on how to strengthen federal perjury laws, we’re all ears.


“The culture of corruption that Illinois Democrats fostered for decades is finally being exposed and prosecuted. There is more work to be done, but Illinois citizens deserve a government that works for them, not just for political insiders and their special interest allies.” - ILGOP Chairman Don Tracy

* SGOP Leader John Curran…

“Today’s conviction of the longtime Executive Director of the Illinois Democratic Party and House Democratic Chief of Staff delivers another clear message to the General Assembly that reform is needed. We must do more to empower local law enforcement officials with the same investigative tools that Federal Authorities possess, including wiretapping and grand jury authority. The Senate Republicans will continue to work for these reforms and others to help root out corruption and restore the trust and confidence of all Illinois citizens.”

* Feds…

The convictions were announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Robert W. “Wes” Wheeler, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julia Schwartz and Diane MacArthur.

“Perjury and obstruction of justice are serious offenses that strike at the heart of the truth-seeking mission of the grand jury,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Pasqual. “This conviction should stand as a clear message to witnesses who choose to violate their oath to tell the truth before a grand jury that they will be held accountable.”

“There is no justice without truth,” said FBI SAC Wheeler. “Attempts to undermine the prosecutorial process chip away at trust in our institutions, and this conviction shows that we continue to work with our partners to ensure the integrity of our judicial system.”

“Citizens should expect that former public officials will maintain their integrity and be truthful even when it is inconvenient,” said IRS-CI SAC Campbell. “The investigation that resulted in this conviction is a testament to IRS-CI’s and our law enforcement partners’ commitment to ensuring that individuals who do not testify truthfully in the grand jury will be brought to justice.”


Afternoon roundup

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Follow along by clicking here and stand by for news…


Over-the-year, total nonfarm jobs increased in thirteen metropolitan areas and decreased in one for the year ending July 2023, according to data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (DES). Over-the-year, the unemployment rate increased in thirteen metropolitan areas and decreased in one. […]

The metro areas which had the largest over-the-year percentage increases in total nonfarm jobs were the Danville MSA (+2.6%, +700), the Elgin Metro Division (+2.4%, +6,200), the Champaign-Urbana MSA (+2.1%, +2,400), and the Springfield MSA (+2.1%, +2,300). Total nonfarm jobs in the Chicago-Metro Division were up +1.3% or +50,900. Total nonfarm jobs were down slightly in the Kankakee MSA (-0.5%, -200). Industries that saw job growth in a majority of metro areas included: Leisure and Hospitality (twelve areas); Education and Health Services and Government (eleven areas each).

The metro areas with the largest unemployment rate increases were the Danville MSA (+1.7 points to 6.6%), the Rockford MSA (+1.6 points to 6.8%), the Decatur MSA (+1.4 points to 6.9%), and the Kankakee MSA (+1.4 points to 6.1%). The only metro area with an unemployment rate decrease was the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights Metropolitan Division (-1.1 percentage points to 4.0%). The Chicago Metro Division unemployment rate tied 2019 for a record low in the month of July.


It’s payday in south suburban University Park. But when village employees checked their bank accounts Wednesday they found they had been stiffed. […]

“It’s no coincidence that this happened on the first payday after new Village Manager Elizabeth Scott wrongfully terminated the one and only employee who maintained the village payroll,” said Anders Lindall of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Council 31 (AFSCME).

All 30 of the village’s unionized employees went unpaid, according to union reps.


Beginning Tuesday, August 29 the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) will host 31 international buyers from seven different Latin American countries to enhance existing relationships and increase export sales for the Illinois grain industry.

“The Illinois Grain Tour gives Illinois farmers, producers, and retailers the opportunity to showcase their world-class commodities and facilities to foreign investors,” said IDOA Director Jerry Costello. “We lead the nation in soybean production and nearly half of the soybeans and corn produced in Illinois are exported, resulting in billions of dollars in direct sales annually.”

In 2022, the Grain Tour returned to in-person for the first time since the pandemic and brought in $65 million in projected sales.

Participants begin the tour by meeting with representatives from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. The tour will also make stops at:

    • RTS Farm, Aubur
    • GSI, Assumption
    • Farm Progress Show, Decatur
    • Illinois Soybean Association, Bloomington
    • Marquis Energy, Hennepin
    • Seedburo Equipment Co., Des Plaines
    • Delong Co., Joliet
    • MANNS Traders, Chicago

All participants of the Illinois Grain Tour are required to pay their own airfare and a participation fee prior to joining the tour.

There will be a planned media stop at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur with Director Costello. Information regarding that stop will be shared in the following days.

* Congrats to Emily!

I have long harbored a secret goal of winning the Marian Brockschmidt award for excellence in textile art from the…

Posted by Emily Bittner on Monday, August 21, 2023

More on Marian Brockschmidt is here.

* Isabel’s roundup…


I really thought people already knew this about butter cows

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* LLM Farm Vets

A cow walks on the tips of her toes and the equivalent of our nails (the hoof wall) bears the majority of her weight. … The trimming length for a typical dairy cow’s toe should be 85mm long [3.3 inches]

According to, dairy cows weigh between 900 and 1,600 pounds. That’s a whole lot of weight on those little feet.

* Now, let’s move on to this photo of the dismantling of the Illinois State Fair butter cow, which caused quite a stir…

Not trying to pick on Ben because hundreds and hundreds of people had the very same reaction…

The butter on that cow already weighs 500-800 pounds. A full cow made out of butter would weigh much more, perhaps even more than a real dairy cow.

Also, this is butter. It ain’t steel. How do you even get it to stand up and hold together for days on end without a frame? The process is kinda like decoupage, only with butter.

* I just figured people knew this, but nope…

* Charlotte Clymer did some research

But there are only four state fairs that regularly feature a butter cow sculpture: Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Although Iowa’s butter cow sculpture is probably the most legen-dairy, Ohio was the first to do it in 1903, eight years before Iowa.

All four use a similar process: a frame of various materials, mostly wire-and-steel mesh, covered in layers of sculpted butter. Of course, the more you think about it, the more this makes sense. We’re usually talking 600-800 lbs. of butter with the frame, alone, so a solid butter heifer would probably be cowed by the laws of physics.

Never assume anything.


Question of the day

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Got any Excessive Heat Warning stories to share?


Zenna Ramos was placed on the state’s attorney’s “Do Not Call List” after the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board decertified her

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* We talked yesterday about how the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board had decertified Riverside police officer Zenna Ramos in April of this year. Ramos said she was enduring domestic abuse at the time she was busted for retail theft of $14.99 merchandise from JC Penney, but she eventually rehabilitated herself and became a Cicero police officer. When she got a job with the Riverside PD, the ILETSB stretched the law and decertified her.

As part of our discussion, it came out that Ramos had been placed on the Cook County State’s Attorney’s “Do Not Call List” (otherwise known as a Brady List), which was released to the public in July.

I reached out this morning to the state’s attorney’s office with some questions…

1) When was Ramos put on the Brady list?

2) Why was Ramos put on the list?

3) How many other law enforcement officers are on that list for petty crimes committed more than 10 years before they became LEOs?

4) Does the SAO intend to conduct a review of Ramos’ case? If so, will that extend to other officers who may be in a similar situation?

I also pointed out that if Kim Foxx had been state’s attorney in 2008, Ramos would never have even been charged for a $14.99 retail theft bust.

* Anyway, here’s the response I received…

Upon notification from the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board (ILETSB) in April 2023, the officer was placed on the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) do not call list. Any police officer that is decertified is automatically placed on this list.

So, Ramos wasn’t on the CCSAO’s do not call list for committing petty crimes years ago. She was on the list because the ILETSB decertified her, even though retail theft isn’t on its own list of decertifying offenses.

Ramos is appealing the decertification and, if successful, she can then appeal her placement on the do not call list.


Delivery Helps Chicago Restaurants Grow On Uber Eats

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Advertising Department

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

At Uber Eats, local restaurants are the backbone of our communities and delivery continues to help small business owners reach new customers and increase sales.

We recently published the results of the 2022 US Merchant Impact Report—which come directly from a survey of merchant partners. Read More.

  Comments Off      

Maybe a little context, please

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The last time we heard out of David Shestokas was in June, when the attorney and his client were sanctioned by a judge for filing a “frivolous lawsuit”

A Will County judge ordered the losing candidate in the 2022 race for Will County clerk and her attorney who filed an election fraud lawsuit to pay $35,000 in sanctions for what he called a “frivolous lawsuit.”

Republican Gretchen Fritz filed the lawsuit Dec. 28, claiming she believes “mistakes and fraud have been committed in the casting and counting of ballots” in the race because her opponent, Democratic Will County Clerk Lauren Staley Ferry, received more votes than Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Judge John Anderson dismissed the case March 30 and approved the $35,000 in sanctions Monday.

“It’ll be a deterrent so that these fake election lawsuits don’t get filed,” said Burt Odelson, Staley Ferry’s attorney.

Odelson filed a motion in April for Rule 137 sanctions against Fritz and her attorney, David Shestokas. Odelson petitioned for $40,047.25 in fees and costs for the case through April 10, but Anderson adjusted the fee to $35,000.

That lawsuit was quite a doozy

The losing candidate in the 2022 race for Will County clerk is asking a judge to order a new election in the case, citing mathematic formulas alleging the final count was fraudulent.

Republican Gretchen Fritz filed the lawsuit Dec. 28, claiming she believes “mistakes and fraud have been committed in the casting and counting of ballots” in the Will County clerk’s race because her opponent, Democratic Will County Clerk Lauren Staley Ferry, received more votes than Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker. […]

“Split ticket voting is a sign of a healthy democracy not bad elections,” [Erik Nisbet, Northwestern University associate professor of policy analysis and communication] said. “The fact that a local town clerk got more voters than the governor just means they saw the clerk race as less partisan than the governor race.” […]

Fritz’s attorney, David Shestokas, said Tuesday the lawsuit highlights a “21st Century approach to manipulating the election process.”


The allegations ignore the fact Will County uses paper ballots, [Judge John Anderson] wrote, so if Fritz believes the machine totals were inaccurate she could ask for a recount of those ballots.

Shestokas was also a main speaker at a downstate secessionist meeting in Quincy.

* Shestokas is now representing Rev. Stephen Lee, who is accused of “participating in a plot to coerce election worker Ruby Freeman into falsely confessing election fraud,” and is “facing felony charges that include racketeering, influencing a witness and conspiracy to solicit false statements and writings.” A little background on Ruby Freeman

Death threats from angry Trump supporters forced Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman, a 62-year-old grandmother, to flee her home of 20 years. Some messages called for her hanging; one urged people to “hunt” her. Freeman showed hundreds of menacing messages to police and called 911 three times.

But a year after Donald Trump and his allies falsely accused Freeman - along with her daughter and co-worker Wandrea “Shaye” Moss - of election fraud, the threats have not been investigated by local police or state authorities, according to a Reuters review of Georgia law enforcement records. Federal agents have monitored some of the threats, but made no arrests.

Offering the first detailed account of their ordeal, the two women told Reuters about threats of lynching and racial slurs, along with alarming visits by strangers to the homes of Freeman and her mother. The intimidation began last December, a month after the 2020 election, when the Trump campaign released surveillance video they falsely claimed showed the two women, who are Black, opening “suitcases” full of phony ballots to rig the vote count in predominantly Black Fulton County, which includes part of Atlanta.

With no one arrested for threatening them, and no police security detail, the women said their lives were thrown into chaos. Freeman told Reuters she moved from house to house out of fear for her safety.

A lot of those conspiracy theories were stoked by Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump.

* From the indictment

On or about the 4th day of January 2021 STEPHEN CLIFFGARD LEE, HARRISON WILLIAM PRESCOTT FLOYD, and TREVIAN C. KUTTI committed the felony offense of SOLICITATION OF FALSE STATEMENTS AND WRITINGS, in Violation of O.C.G.A. §§ 16-4-7 & 16-10-20, in Cobb County, Georgia, by soliciting, requesting, and importuning Ruby Freeman, a Fulton County, Georgia, election worker, to engage in conduct constituting the felony offense of False Statements and Writings, O.C.G.A. § 16-10-20, by knowingly and willfully making a false statement and representation concerning events at State Farm Arena in the November 3, 2020, presidential election in Georgia, said statement and representation being within the jurisdiction of the Office of the Georgia Secretary of State and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, departments and agencies of state government, and county and city law enforcement agencies, with intent that said person engage in said conduct. This was an act of racketeering activity under O.C.G.A. § l6—14-3(5)(A)(xxii) and an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.

* And yet there was no mention of any of Shestokas’ history in a recent Sun-Times article on Lee and Shestokas and in this ABC I-Team interview

In an exclusive interview, Lee’s attorney, David Shestokas, defended his client.

“He has the full complete support of this congregation, that I can tell you for sure because I was with them,” he said.

Shestokas also said the Georgia evidence is so thin that late last year a Kendall County, Illinois judge refused to order the minister to testify in front of a grand jury there as a possible witness. […]

Shestokas also said they will vigorously fight the charges.

“We will be entering a plea of not guilty, because frankly, there’s essentially four– four counts directly relating to Reverend Lee. Two of them has him knocking on, knocking on people’s doors and two of the others have him making a couple of telephone calls,” he said.

The knocking on doors thing were acts in furtherance of the RICO conspiracy.


Jury deliberating Mapes’ fate after defense shifts tactics during closing arguments

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This was an interesting, if horribly belated, development…

* From Meisel’s story

Earlier in the day, Schwartz said Mapes had the opportunity to be a “star witness” in the government’s investigation into Madigan and McClain’s purportedly corrupt dealings. But Porter took issue with that assertion.

“So let’s unpack that,” Porter said of Schwartz’s “star witness” comment. “Because that assumes – without evidence – that Tim Mapes knew whether Madigan and McClain were discussing these topics.”

Porter reminded the jury of testimony from former Madigan staffer-turned-lobbyist Will Cousineau, who said Madigan and McClain would often use the conference room in his downtown Springfield office to have private meetings. Other witnesses in the case testified that Madigan and McClain often dined alone together in Springfield, and that Madigan was a private person.

By the time Mapes sat for his grand jury testimony, McClain and three others had already been indicted on bribery charges in connection with ComEd, and Porter said Mapes was well aware the grand jury was interested in potential criminal activity.

But, he said, Mapes was completely ignorant of that. […]

Further, Porter said, in order to prove the charges against Mapes, the government would have to prove Mapes lied about things that were material to the grand jury’s investigation.

More from the Tribune

Saying Mapes could have been a star witness “assumes, without evidence, assumes that Tim Mapes knew whether Madigan and McClain were discussing these topics,” Porter said. “And he didn’t. … He couldn’t remember what he didn’t know.”

That’s a decent debating point, but I don’t know if it will have any impact on the jury, particularly since it came so late in the game.

* But, really, did Mapes hurt the federal government’s investigation? As I pointed out in my recent newspaper column, Mapes was never once asked during his grand jury testimony whether he’d witnessed or even suspected illegal activity. As I also noted in my column, the feds haven’t yet shared any Mapes or Mapes-related recordings or emails of him being part of any allegedly illegal act. If they had him on something, you’d think they would’ve shared that with the jury. So, how would the feds know that Mapes would’ve been a “star” prosecution witness?

* Instead, the feds asked a judge to give Mapes immunity then set what sure looked like a perjury trap. Mapes and his lawyers should’ve known this was happening and behaved accordingly. Instead, Mapes jumped right into that obvious trap like a “good soldier.” Sun-Times

Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur at times turned and pointed toward Tim Mapes in the middle of a courtroom as she set out to shred his defense to perjury and attempted obstruction of justice charges at the end of a long day of arguments.

The veteran prosecutor told jurors in a dramatic high-energy closing that “this is the man who was loyal, who does not give any ground, who refused to give any insight or light into the world close to Michael Madigan or Michael McClain.” […]

MacArthur responded by telling the jury “the life that Mr. Mapes chose for himself was the one that he put on the table on March 31, 2021,” the day he allegedly lied to the grand jury.

* More from yesterday’s prosecution closing…

Also very true.

The jury is deliberating, so stay tuned.


Open thread

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* What’s going on? Keep it Illinois-centric please…


Isabel’s morning briefing

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Here you go…


Live coverage

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* ScribbleLive is still down. Twitter has stopped allowing people to embed list feeds on websites. So, click here or here to follow breaking news. You can click here to follow the Tim Mapes trial.


* New laws (Updated)
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign update: Circling the wagons
* Isabel's afternoon roundup
* Southern Illinoisan newspaper journalists say goodbye to their community after new owner fires all employees
* Report examines Illinois women’s political power
* Proposal to save suburban, Chicago public transit transit includes tax on services, parking and raising RTA sales tax
* AG Raoul, others file antitrust lawsuit against NCAA
* Question of the day: 2023 Golden Horseshoe Awards
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live Ed Burke Trial Coverage
* Live coverage
* Yesterday's stories

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