The last time Ald. Willie Cochran (20) appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Alonso, his attorney said the indicted alderman “could not stomach” pleading guilty to charges that he shook down a local business owner and stole $30,000 he collected to help people in his ward.
Instead of accepting a plea that would have required the South Side alderman to admit to one count of wire fraud, but face no mandatory jail time, Cochran asked Alonso to set a date for a trial that could result in the former police officer facing a five-year prison sentence.
That trial was scheduled to start June 3. Instead, Cochran will be back in front of Alonso Thursday morning to write the latest chapter of a saga that began during the Dec. 14, 2017 City Council meeting, when Ald. Ed Burke (14) showed Cochran an online newspaper article announcing his indictment while reporters looked on.