CHICAGO — A detailed look at the sprawling corruption case against Alderman Ed Burke was made public Wednesday.
In a brief filed in federal court, prosecutors called the longtime dean of the Chicago City Council “thoroughly corrupt.”
Burke has been under indictment since May of 2019. For the last two years his legal team has sought to have a judge toss out evidence collected on wiretaps.
Wednesday, federal prosecutors responded with a 227-page brief that they say shows why the wire taps are key to the case.
In the brief, filed in federal court by the U.S Attorney’s Office, prosecutors alleged, “Again and again, Burke shamelessly tied official action to his law firm’s receipt of business.”
Burke’s legal team has argued that prosecutors were overzealous when they raided his office in November of 2018.
It was revealed he was the target of a wide-ranging corruption investigation that included wiretaps and he may have been recorded secretly by his longtime city council college who is now believed to be a cooperating witness, Danny Solis.
Burke’s lawyers sought to have those wiretaps thrown out of court. But in their filing prosecutors argued the evidence should be admissible and said, “The government acted more than reasonably in investigating Burke’s conduct.”
They called the 77-year-old alderman “… thoroughly corrupt and worthy of prosecution.”
Burke was charged in January of 2019 and indicted in May of that same year on 14 counts including racketeering, federal program bribery and attempted extortion.
One of the key examples prosecutors detailed is Burke’s alleged attempt to strongarm the developers of the Old Main Post Office, an $800 million development, into using his law firm to appeal property taxes. Burke allegedly made an anti-sematic comment about a Jewish lawyer, quoted in the document as saying, “Well, you know as well as I do, Jews are Jews and they’ll deal with Jews to the exclusion of everybody else unless . . . unless there’s a reason for them to use a Christian.”
Federal judge Robert Dow is presiding over the case and has given Burke’s lawyers until June to respond. He has not set a new time line for the trial to begin.
Burk has pleaded not guilty to the charges and told reporters at city hall today he would “respond in court.”