Federal prosecutors on Monday shelved their case in the perjury trial of Tim Mapes, the longtime chief of staff to once-powerful former Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan.
Now is the time for Mapes' trial to move to a new phase, where his defense attorneys are expected to call witnesses of their own. They said their case will probably last about a day.
They also said on Monday they weren't sure Mapes would take a stand in his own defense – although that seems unlikely.
Meanwhile, US District Judge John Kness told attorneys last month that the trial had to be completed by Friday. A separate bank fraud trial is scheduled to begin next week in the Kness courtroom.
Prosecutors ended their case Monday by replaying a series of secretly recorded calls between Mapes and his Springfield colleague Michael McClain in 2018. The men held lengthy discussions about possible committee assignments in the Illinois General Assembly.
In a November 2018 call, Mapes appeared to be referring to it Current spokesman Emanuel “Chris” Welch described him as a “pretty good team player”. Welch later headed a special legislative committee formed to respond to federal allegations against Madigan.
Mapes is accused of lying seven times before a federal grand jury on March 31, 2021 when asked about McClain's work for Madigan. Mapes' defense attorneys told the jury that Mapes either did not know or could not remember the answers to the questions put to him.
The late 2018 calls that jurors heard Monday showed that months after he resigned over allegations of bullying and harassment in June 2018, Mapes remained deeply involved in key aspects of the legislature.
The judges also heard a discussion between the two men about Joe Dominguez, who became ComEd's CEO in 2018 after promoting outgoing CEO Anne Pramaggiore. During the May 2018 call, McClain appeared to be referring to Madigan.
“He said to me on Monday night, um, um, ‘Aren't you going to realize before he comes into the office, um, this Joe Dominguez really isn't trusted in Springfield?' That's the guy taking Anne's place,” McClain said.
McClain continues, “This is the third time he's brought it up.” McClain then said he “had a really serious conversation with Anne Pramaggiore.” who said she was trying to figure out how to address the issue internally.
Mapes is also accused of falsely saying that he knew Madigan's impressions of Dominguez. Before the grand jury, a prosecutor asked Mapes, “You haven't received any information from any source as to what Mr. Madigan even thought about Joe Dominguez?”
Mapes replied, “No, no, I didn't. I have no idea.”
Finally, in another call on July 5, 2018, McClain spoke about Maggie Hickey, who had been hired the previous month to investigate allegations of harassment at the Illinois General Assembly. McClain told Mapes that he and a Madigan attorney “did everything we could to eliminate her as the next US attorney.”
Hickey's name surfaced in a 2017 search for US attorneys that eventually led to the nomination of what is now former US attorney John Lausch.
McClain said “I'll bet a dime to a dollar” that Hickey would ask Madigan to step down in November or else he would be rejected to speak.
She did not.
McClain was convicted earlier this year along with Pramaggiore and two others of conspiracy to bribe Madigan. McClain is on trial alongside Madigan in a separate case in April, each alleging racketeering conspiracy.
Dave McKinney, political reporter at WBEZ, contributed