CHICAGO — Jury selection is underway Monday in the federal corruption trial of Chicago’s longest-serving former alderman — Ed Burke.
Among the questions jurors will decide is whether Burke, 79, allegedly used his power amassed during his 54-year career representing the 14th Ward to illegally steer business toward his own law firm.
Burke arrived to the Dirksen Federal Building just before 8:45 a.m. Monday and went to a courtroom on the 25th floor where jury selection is taking place.
He is facing charges of racketeering, bribery and extortion. Burke’s co-defendants are Peter Andrews, a longtime political aide, and Charles Cui, a real estate developer.
Potential jurors are answering questions from the judge and attorneys Monday and 12 will be selected.
Burke is specifically accused of withholding city permits to strong arm developers and businesses into using his private law firm — which handled tax appeals.
It’s been nearly five years since the FBI raided Burke’s offices in his ward and City Hall. Prosecutors brought charges after years of investigation that included the longest wiretap in U.S. history. More than 9,000 phone calls were recorded to or from Burke, federal authorities said.
Monday was his first appearance in court since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed federal court system and the trial.