Former state senator pleads not guilty to new tax charge

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Former Senator Annazette R. Collins

Former state Senator Annazette R. Collins (Courtesy of Illinois General Assembly.)

CHICAGO (AP) — Former Illinois state Sen. Annazette Collins pleaded not guilty Thursday to new charges linked to an ongoing federal bribery investigation connected to Commonwealth Edison and state politics.

A lawyer for Collins entered a not guilty plea to a charge of filing a false individual income tax return for the calendar year 2018. Prosecutors allege Collins falsely claimed $31,830 in travel expenses for that year.

Last month, Collins pleaded not guilty to federal charges of lying on personal income tax reports and failing to file tax returns for her lobbying and consulting firm.

Collins, a Chicago Democrat who left the legislature in 2013, was one of several ex-lawmakers hired by Commonwealth Edison after retiring from public office. However, the indictments do not specifically mention her work for the utility.

Court records filed in connection with Collins’ case list a grand jury number that matches one appearing in other records related to the ComEd investigation. Federal prosecutors have charged ComEd with bribery. Four members of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s inner circle have been hit with bribery charges.

On Wednesday, a grand jury indicted former Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes on perjury and attempted obstruction of justice charges. Madigan has not been charged and denies wrongdoing.

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