The Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse is set to witness a doubleheader of action in the sprawling corruption investigations that have roiled City Hall and the Capitol on Tuesday, with former State Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) set to be arraigned hours after Ald. Ed Burke (14) could hear when he will face a trial.
Arroyo is set to appear before U.S. District Judge Steven Seeger at 1:30 p.m., when he could plead guilty to corruption charges. Arroyo was arrested and charged in October for allegedly offering to bribe to an unnamed state senator by paying him $2,500 per month for one year in exchange for the senator’s support on legislation that would benefit a client he was working for at the city level.
But that state senator was wearing a wire for the FBI.
Federal prosecutors filed a charging document on Jan. 17 known as an information, which typically indicates that a defendant plans to plead guilty.
According to the criminal complaint, Arroyo began paying bribes in August to a state senator who has been cooperating with the feds since 2016. That senator has been a cooperating witness for the FBI even before it was revealed he had filed false income tax returns. The unnamed senator’s cooperation began again afterward, but the complaint says he has not been promised anything in exchange for working with the feds.
State Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), a 22-year veteran of the state Senate, has repeatedly denied being the FBI source.
However, there is no indication the case against Burke is anywhere near a final resolution.
U.S. District Judge Robert Dow could decide at a Tuesday morning hearing on whether to set a trial date in early 2021 for Burke, who is running for re-election in March as the 14th Ward Democratic committeeperson, and his two co-defendants, Peter J. Andrews and real estate developer Charles Cui.
Burke, Andrews and Cui are not expected to appear at the hearing. All three have pleaded not guilty.
The additional time before a trial would to allow both sides to sift through a massive trove of documents and recordings that could be used as evidence against Burke, Andrews and Cui.
The indictment released Thursday by the Department of Justice alleges that Burke repeatedly — and brazenly — used his powerful position at City Hall to force those doing business with the city to hire his private law firm.
Much of the timeline relies on wiretaps, direct quotes and recordings made by former colleague Ald. Danny Solis (25).
Burke pleaded not guilty, his attorneys said. Any allegations that Chicago’s longest-serving alderman “abused his position as a public official for personal gain is simply not true,” and the charges “are unfounded and not based on actual evidence,” according to his lawyers.