CHICAGO — Four people accused in the ComEd bribery scheme, that’s put major political pressure on House Speaker Michael Madigan, pleaded not guilty Wednesday morning.
Former ComEd lobbyists Michael McClain, Jay Doherty, and John Hooker and former ComEd CEO Anne Pramagiorre made their first court appearance before US District Judge Harry Leinenweber via video conference.
The four are accused of falsifying company records and creating off-book accounts to conceal or disguise payments made in an eight-year-long corruption scheme.
The lynchpin for federal investigators is Mike McClain, of Quincy. He’s said to be one of Speaker Madigan’s oldest and most trusted confidantes.
Michael Madigan, 78, the longest serving state Speaker of the House in US history, is not charged with any wrongdoing. Madigan issued a statement when the indictment was announced, denying any involvement in the scheme.
WGN reached out to Madigan’s communications staff, but so far, no comment on Wednesday’s court proceeding.
The embattled Madigan is still hoping to retain his speakership. But it’s not clear if Madigan will get the 60 votes he’ll need when the general assembly returns to session in January.