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Isabel’s afternoon roundup

Tuesday, Jul 9, 2024 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Sun-Times

The fate of four people convicted in one of Chicago’s biggest 2023 corruption trials will remain up in the air for at least four months as a judge considers the full effect of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that threatens to unravel the case. […]

U.S. District Judge Manish Shah laid out a plan that will likely push a definitive ruling on the fate of the case until November, at the earliest. By then, a year and a half will have passed since the jury’s guilty verdict, and four years will have passed since the four were indicted. [..]

Pramaggiore attorney Scott Lassar said he and his colleagues plan to renew previously denied motions for a new trial and acquittal. Shah gave them until Aug. 27 to do so. Defense attorneys also plan to seek grand jury transcripts to help prepare the motions, Lassar said. […]

It amounts to a remarkable turnaround in a case that once seemed like a slam-dunk for the feds. Jurors in May 2023 convicted the four defendants of every count for which they’d been charged. Leinenweber also shot down a defense request last November — almost exactly a year before Shah’s new briefing deadline — to briefly delay sentencing hearings in the case.

* Daily Southtown

Will County Board Republican Leader Steve Balich has filed several complaints with authorities alleging board Democratic Leader Jacqueline Traynere engaged in a cybercrime by accessing emails between himself and County Board Chair Judy Ogalla.

Balich, of Homer Glen, said Traynere logged into Ogalla’s email account without permission.

Traynere then forwarded an email exchange between Balich and Ogalla regarding the controversial 143rd Street road widening project in Homer Glen to the county executive, according to Balich. […]

Traynere said she heard a rumor that when county board members were issued new laptops, they all had the same password. She said she was testing this theory and chose the county board chair. She said she couldn’t believe the chair would have the same password as her. […]

Traynere said she later opened her laptop again and didn’t realize she was still logged in under Ogalla’s name. She thought she was reading her own emails, saw an email exchange that confused her and forwarded it to the county executive.

* Illinois Answers

A nine-month investigation by the Illinois Answers Project found county jails in the state restrain people in chairs on average more than 1,000 times a year, often in ways that violate their own policies and last longer than recommended by leading standards and manufacturer guidelines, causing physical injuries and psychological trauma to people commonly grappling with mental illness and addiction. […]

Human rights groups have long decried the use of restraint chairs in American jails and prisons, where they say the device is prone to misuse and abuse that is akin to torture. The United Nations Committee Against Torture has urged U.S. officials to abolish the chairs, and Amnesty International has said inadequate training and supervision of their use has caused pain, injury and even death. The same brand of chair used in many Illinois jails was also used at Guantánamo Bay. […]

The investigation revealed that, from 2019 to 2023:

    - Statewide, staff restrained someone in a chair nearly every day, totaling more than 5,500 incidents, which is likely an undercount. The people restrained ranged in age from 18 to at least 70, with the exception of at least four minors, ages 12, 13, 16 and 17. They were booked on charges ranging from disorderly conduct and traffic offenses to murder. While that’s a small percentage of all people booked into jail, the figure surprised several experts, who said it may indicate that staff use the chairs in non-emergency situations.

    - State standards, last updated a decade ago, don’t specify a limit on how long someone may be restrained. County policies typically limit duration to two hours at a time. But, in many cases, staff restrained people for far longer. Some were restrained repeatedly for days on end – up to a week – with the exception of periodic breaks. In many cases, staff failed to regularly log checks of people restrained, and some people did not immediately receive medical attention – if at all. […]

Restraint chairs have been linked to more than 50 deaths in the United States since the late 1990s, according to investigations by The Marshall Project and USA TODAY. The deaths have been tied to blood clots, suffocation and overdoses that went untreated while restrained. People have also died after jail staff Tased or pepper sprayed them while restrained or failed to provide food, water and medication.

*** Statewide ***

* WGLT | Illinois corn growers join lawsuit against EPA over vehicle emissions rules: The Illinois Corn Growers Association is part of a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] over new emissions rules, contending the rules, which aim to boost adoption of electric vehicles, restrict consumer choice and create an unreasonable economic impact. The rules, finalized in April and scheduled to phase in from 2027 to 2032, mandate that automakers reduce the average emissions of their new vehicles. There are multiple ways to meet the standards, from upgrading efficiency across the board to offering more hybrid and full electric vehicles. EPA projects that by 2030-2032, some manufacturers may choose to offer 20% to 56% battery electric vehicles, depending on the type and efficiency of their fleets.

* WSIU | Illinois Launches Spanish-Language CDL Testing to Address Driver Shortages: While the test’s translation into Spanish facilitates comprehension of technical content, applicants must still demonstrate proficiency in English for the road test and pre-trip inspection, aligning with federal guidelines from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This requirement ensures that drivers can understand essential verbal instructions critical for safe operation.

* ABC Chicago | Police warn of Illinois Tollway phishing text message scam: Police say scammers are impersonating Illinois Tollway employees, and asking for money. The phishing texts claim I-PASS customers owe money for unpaid tolls. The Tollway is asking motorists to disregard the texts, and check their online accounts, at illinoistollway.com, to make sure nothing is owed.

* WCIA | Illinois state treasurer has $2.5 billion ready to be claimed: “Every now and then, someone leaves something in a bank safe deposit box, and it’s turned over to us when it’s abandoned. We try to track down the rightful owners,” Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said. Things like jewelry, gold and silver bars, coins dating back to the Roman Empire and vintage banknotes take up space in the large vaults in the basement of Springfield Marine Bank.

*** Chicago ***

* Tribune | Johnson to join Biden meeting with mayors as president tries to shore up Democratic support: Johnson’s political spokesman Christian Perry confirmed the mayor will attend the briefing but did not have further details. At least one other big city mayor, Eric Adams of New York City, will also be on the call, CBS New York reported. […] “What’s clear to me, and to people across Chicago, is that Donald Trump is a dire threat to everything we hold dear including our democracy, our freedoms, and our economy,” Johnson said in the post. “Joe Biden is the president and our Democratic nominee, and we all need to do everything we can to defeat Donald Trump this November.”

* Sun-Times | Chicago police rebuff watchdog’s request to reopen probe into cops’ ties to extremist Oath Keepers: In a letter to internal affairs Chief Yolanda Talley on June 13, [Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg’s] office also repeated her assertion that the police leaders could have charged the eight cops with breaking police department rules against officers bringing “discredit upon the department.” But Timothy Moore, deputy internal affairs director, rebuffed the inspector general’s request on June 28. Moore acknowledged that seven of the eight accused officers had signed documents related to the Oath Keepers, but he said none “had intentions of joining a violent extremist group,” according to records released Tuesday by Witzburg.

* Sun-Times | Barnes & Noble pushes back Wicker Park store opening, citing construction delays: Janine Flanagan, Barnes & Noble’s vice president of store planning and design, said “a few challenges with construction have caused a small set back.” Flanagan said in a statement that there’s no opening date yet, but Barnes & Noble is targeting early September.

*** Cook County and Suburbs ***

* Tribune | Hayes not seeking a 4th term as Arlington Heights mayor. But he is not yet ready to support Trustee Schwingbeck or anyone else’s bid to replace him.: “I look at our Village Board and I’m not sure what will happen in the April [2025] election with the four trustees that will be up for election,” Schwingbeck said Monday in a telephone interview with Pioneer Press. “I think it’s important to have some continuity with the board, especially with all of the things going on in our village and the size of our village.” […] Hayes declined to state whose mayoral campaign he would support, saying he is going to wait to see who else runs before making an endorsement decision.

* Daily Herald | Back where it belongs: Family of suburban Pearl Harbor veteran receives his missing Purple Heart: In the early morning hours of Dec. 7, 1941, Jerome Even was on guard duty at Pearl Harbor when he and his fellow soldiers noticed airplanes with Japanese insignia overhead. […] Wounded during the attack, Even was awarded a Purple Heart, a medal given to soldiers injured or killed while serving. But a decade after his passing in 2014, Even’s medal was no longer in his family’s hands. That is until last week, when Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs returned the medal to Even’s family, after it had been found in an unclaimed safe deposit box.

* Lake County News-Sun | Lake Forest ready to buy building for police department move; ‘Having additional space allows flexibility to meet future needs’: Lake Forest officials are poised to take action on a plan where the city would spend well over $30 million to move the city’s police headquarters to an existing building in the Conway Park office complex. City Council members may vote Monday to finalize a purchase sale agreement for a now-vacant office building at 1925 Field Court at Conway Park. If the building is acquired, the city plans to retrofit the 100,000-square-foot structure and move its police headquarters from its longtime location in the 200 block of Deerpath Road.

*** Downstate ***

* Capitol City Now | $17.8M in federal funding coming to SMTD to help replace aging bus fleet: Sangamon Mass Transit District is set to receive just over $17.8 million in federal funding to help replace older buses with diesel-hybrid and compressed natural gas buses. Rep. Nikki Budzinski and Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth made the joint announcement Tuesday.

* SJ-R | Longtime Sangamon County Board member John O’Neill dead at 78: A Republican, O’Neill was first elected to the board from the 26th District in 2002. In 2022, he defeated Democrat Rusty Jones for a four-year term. O’Neill was the past liquor commissioner for the county and was currently serving on the county board’s liquor committee. […] A U.S. Army infantry officer who served in Vietnam and Cambodia, O’Neill worked as a legislative liaison for the Illinois Secretary of State and Department of Veterans Affairs.

*** National ***

* AP | Federal judge rules protesters can’t march through Republican National Convention security zone: U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig said in his order that protesters have a right to march in protest of the RNC, “but the First Amendment does not allow them to protest or parade in any way they choose.” Ludwig said that Milwaukee city officials and the U.S. Secret Service have worked to balance protesters’ right to express themselves and “legitimate security and other governmental interests.”

* Time | ‘We’re Living in a Nightmare:’ Inside the Health Crisis of a Texas Bitcoin Town: Over the course of several months in 2024, TIME spoke to more than 40 people in the Granbury area who reported a medical ailment that they believe is connected to the arrival of the Bitcoin mine: hypertension, heart palpitations, chest pain, vertigo, tinnitus, migraines, panic attacks. At least 10 people went to urgent care or the emergency room with these symptoms. The development of large-scale Bitcoin mines and data centers is quite new, and most of them are housed in extremely remote places. There have been no major medical studies on the impacts of living near one. But there is an increasing body of scientific studies linking prolonged exposure to noise pollution with cardiovascular damage. And one local doctor—ears, nose, and throat specialist Salim Bhaloo—says he sees patients with symptoms potentially stemming from the Bitcoin mine’s noise on an almost weekly basis.

       

5 Comments »
  1. - will county - Tuesday, Jul 9, 24 @ 2:39 pm:

    If an email chain doesn’t include yourself in the chain there is clearly an issue. Come on that is a poor excuse and you are caught. There should be some sort of consequence for that?


  2. - VK - Tuesday, Jul 9, 24 @ 3:02 pm:

    That’s…that’s just the Democratic Leader of the Will County Board fully admitting to a crime right? “Oops” isn’t an affirmative defense the last time I checked.


  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Jul 9, 24 @ 11:53 pm:

    What would be the punishment for me, if I tried to login to a county board members email account, to see if they had the same password I did? And then I started reading their emails after it worked?

    It doesn’t matter the IT dept assigned everyone the same password. That’s its own incredibly terrible problem which should be addressed by immediate firings.

    It’s also independent of the action of knowingly using the credentials of someone else to gain access to an account that isn’t yours, on a server you do not own.

    Balich is a clown, and this is why it bothers me every single day that republicans are unable to put up a competent field of candidates. It means the absolute worst candidates can be elected just by calling themselves a Democrat, and in Will County that’s what’s happening in far too many places.


  4. - notyourgramma - Wednesday, Jul 10, 24 @ 4:07 pm:

    @TheInvisibleMan - most IT departments give a standard password when setting up an account but the employee is supposed to change it once they get their device. If Traynere / Bertino wanted Ogalla’s 143rd Street emails, they could’ve FOIA’d for them. Balich is wrong - is emails aren’t private. And FWIW, Ogalla claims to have been an IT professional…. but she’s never changed her assigned password?


  5. - notyourgramma - Wednesday, Jul 10, 24 @ 4:08 pm:

    Clarifying: emails of *elected officials* aren’t private. They are public record. And Balich claiming they are private is ridiculous. No excuse for Traynere’s behavior but still shows Balich’s ignorance.


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