CHICAGO (AP) — A federal jury convicted former Alderman Ed Burke on 13 corruption counts Thursday after hearing allegations the longest-serving City Council member in Chicago history with a 54-year tenure had used his power to win private law business from developers.
The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for 23 hours over four days before returning its verdict after weighing the testimony of 38 witnesses and hearing more than 100 recordings. It acquitted Burke on one count of conspiracy.
Prosecutors said Burke, who left office in May, used his political clout to pressure people into hiring his private property tax law firm.
Burke “had his hand out time and again demanding money and benefits from the very people he was supposed to be working on behalf of,“ Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur said during closing arguments.
Defense attorney Joe Duffy said, however, that prosecutors presented a “murky” case.
“Fifty years on the job, (Burke) knows how to cut through red tape. That’s why people come to him. He can get it done,” Duffy said.
Burke left the Dirksen Federal Courthouse without comment. His sentencing is scheduled for June 19.
Peter Andrews, a longtime aide to Burke, was acquitted of all counts against him. He was accused of helping Burke pressure the owners of 150 Chicago area Burger King restaurants into hiring Burke’s law firm when help was sought in renovating a restaurant in his ward.
The Associated Press