CHICAGO — Former Chicago Alderman Danny Solis was freed on bond Wednesday after pleading not guilty to a federal bribery charge during his arraignment hearing.

During Wednesday’s hearing, reporters had the first opportunity to hear Solis’ voice since he abruptly ducked out of a City Council meeting in 2018.

“I plead not guilty, your honor,” Solis said during a phone conference.

Solis is accused of accepting $15,000 in campaign contributions in exchange for zoning changes.

His not guilty plea is standard procedure in cooperation agreements, legal experts say. Prior to the indictment, Solis has been working as a mole with federal prosecutors.  

Last summer, the Chicago Tribune reported that Solis secretly recorded the now-indicted Michael Madigan on a number of occasions.

The Chicago Sun-Times said Solis also secretly recorded fellow Ald. Ed Burke as part of a cooperation deal, which led to the longtime 14th Ward alderman’s indictment.

Following the hearing, the City of Chicago announced they are seeking to enter a filing that alleges taxpayers were victims of Solis.

In 2019, WGN News reported that Solis was still collecting a $95,000 city pension. He could receive it for the rest of his life unless he’s convicted of a felony related to his service as an alderman.

Solis represented the 25th Ward from 1996 to 2019.

Mayor Lightfoot released the following statement in regards to the city’s anticipated court filing.

“There can be no doubt that former Alderman Solis violated the public trust in profound ways, not the least of which was by monetizing his position as Zoning Committee Chairman for the benefit of himself and others, likely for years. Because of all of the crimes that have been put on the public record, Solis victimized the residents of his ward and residents in the entire city, all of whom were deprived of the integrity and honesty that should be sacrosanct with all public officials. As a consequence, I have directed the Law Department to prepare a Victim’s Impact Statement which will be filed with the Court in this case. No one is above the law and Chicago residents expect that their elected officials will be held accountable.”