Special prosecutor Dan Webb today released his report in the long-running case involving former Mayor Richard Daley’s nephew, Richard Vanecko, saying the mayor did not try to influence the case.
The report was made public at 9 a.m.
Vanecko, 39, pled guilty Friday to involuntary manslaughter, for throwing the punch that ultimately killed David Koschman outside a tavern on Division Street in 2004.
He was was sentenced to 60 days in jail, followed by 60 days of home confinement and then 2 1/2 years of probation.
ANALYZING THE REPORT
In his report, special prosecutor Webb concluded that former mayor Daley, his family and members of his administration did not try to influence the investigation into Koschman’s death.
The report stated that Daley told investigators he’d “made it clear to his staff and the public that because he was Vanecko’s uncle, he had recused himself from any involvement in the Koschman matter.”
But at a news conference held after the release of the report attorney Flint Taylor, one of the lawyers representing the Koschman family, told reporters: “In this city, then and now, you don’t need a phone call, you don’t need a memo. When it’s Daley, it’s ‘Holy crap, what do we do?'”
The special prosecutor said he found “limited evidence” of a possible effort by Chicago police commanders to “manufacture a phony self-defense” ruling in Koschman’s death when the case was re-investigated in 2011. The report cited evidence that last-minute corrections were made to a report that determined Koschman was the aggressor in the altercation.
“The earlier draft made no mention of self-defense, while the later draft concluded that Vanecko had acted in self-defense,” the report stated. The prosecutor also obtained emails in which Deputy Chief Dean Andrews and Sgt. Sam Cirone discussed “corrections” to the self-defense claim, according to the report.
“Under these circumstances, the public could well conclude that the entire claim of self-defense came not from Vanecko, but, rather, was conjured up in the minds of law enforcement,” said the conclusion of the report. “A discerning citizen could well surmise that it simply is an argument made of whole cloth. Whether Vanecko may, in fact, have a valid claim of self-defense should properly be for him to raise, not the police.”
The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.