CHICAGO — A special prosecutor appointed Wednesday will investigate how the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office handled the case of Jackie Wilson, a man who spent near four decades in prison for the deaths of two police officers – murders he was cleared of.
Jackie Wilson was in the midst of a third trial in October when a county prosecutor testified that he had a personal relationship with a jail informant who helped convict Wilson at a second trial in 1989.
Chicago police officers Richard O’Brien and William Fahey were shot to death during a traffic stop by Wilson’s brother, Andrew. He died in prison in 2007.
Wilson was accused of being the getaway driver but contended he had no idea his brother was going to shoot the officers. Wilson said he was forced to admit to the murders under torture from disgraced Chicago police commander Jon Burge.
The focus turns now to what Wilson’s attorney calls corruption among the people who put him behind bars.
“Between a nefarious relationship between a Cook County State’s attorney and an international fugitive to torture by Chicago Police officers in the presence of Cook County State’s attorneys. It’s a tragic 36-year saga that ripped Jackie Wilson’s life away from him,” said attorney Elliot Slosar.
The judge who ordered a special prosecutor said there’s sufficient evidence that attorney committed perjury and others in the state’s attorney’s office may have covered for him.
The special prosecutor now assigned to examine their actions is formal federal prosecutor – Lawrence Oliver — who also served as Chief Counsel of Investigations for Boeing. Oliver will have the power to convene a grand jury and bring charges.
“For somebody to finally be looking into whether prosecutors should be held criminally not civilly accountable – should they be charged and potentially convicted for framing an innocent person – that’s historic,” said Slosar.
This is the second special prosecutor appointed to investigate Kim Foxx’s office in about two years. The last one found abuses of discretion in the Jussie Smollett case.
“The State’s Attorney is committed to transparency and accountability in this and all matters, and the office will fully cooperate with the review of this case,” Kim Foxx’s office said in a statement Wednesday.