CHICAGO — An attorney for AT&T Illinois entered a not guilty plea in federal court Friday. The company is charged with using an interstate facility to promote legislative misconduct.
Under a deferred prosecution agreement, the charge will be dropped in two years, if the company meets the terms.
AT&T Illinois admitted wrongdoing and agreed to cooperate with federal authorities and pay a $23 million fine.
Prosecutors said AT&T Illinois’ cooperation will assist in the prosecution of other individuals including Michael Madigan and Paul La Schiazza.
Earlier Friday, La Schiazza the former president of AT&T Illinois, pleaded not guilty to five federal counts against him including conspiracy and bribery.
He’s accused of conspiring with former Illinois House Speaker Madigan and Madigan’s longtime friend Michael McClain in 2017 arranging payment of more than $22,000 to influence and reward Madigan’s efforts to advance legislation in Springfield.
Federal authorities say the company tried to conceal the true nature of the payments that were made through an intermediary, a lobbying firm that worked with AT&T Illinois and paid to a Madigan ally who did no actual work for the company.
It’s another development in the ongoing corruption probe into Madigan.
Federal prosecutors last week unsealed a superseding indictment against Madigan and McClain adding another conspiracy count for the AT&T allegation on top of the charges related to a racketeering and bribery scheme involving Com-Ed.
The arraignment date for Madigan and McClain on the superseding indictment has not been set yet.
Madigan has denied any wrongdoing.