(The Center Square) – One after another, federal agent after federal agent marched to the witness stand Wednesday as prosecutors in the “ComEd 4” federal corruption trial sought to lay out for jurors a vivid illustration of the controlled chaos they admittedly created in the name of restoring order in Springfield.
Among the homes raided by agents over the course of their probe was the Streeterville residence of longtime City Club president Jay Doherty, who also once served as a ComEd consultant. As part of the search, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents took possession of a trove of evidence that included emails, invoices, text messages and the voicemail they played for jurors during the daylong proceedings in the overflow courtroom of U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber.
On the phone agents seized from Doherty was a 2016 voicemail left by Ed Moody, a one-time Cook County official and longtime precinct captain in former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s 13th Ward. In the message, Moody tells Doherty that Madigan had instructed him to reach out.
Doherty is now on trial along with longtime Madigan associate Michael McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore and one-time ComEd lobbyist John Hooker, where each is accused of being a central cog in a long-running pay-for-play scheme where at least $1.3 million in jobs, contracts and payments were funneled to Madigan in exchange for his support in Springfield on legislation deemed to be favorable to the company.
Each of the four has pleaded not guilty to charges that include conspiracy and bribery. In a separate case, Madigan faces a 23-count indictment that includes racketeering, bribery and official misconduct charges that is expected to go to trail around this time next year. He too has pleaded not guilty.
On Wednesday, FBI Special Agent Kyle Sherrer told the court that, even with an attorney present Doherty agreed to allow agents to search his phone. Over time, jurors were also shown a series of checks and invoices agents testified they recovered from Doherty’s home office, including some that were to and from Moody.
As part of their actual indictment, prosecutors highlight how Moody regularly received monthly payments from ComEd as a subcontractor on Doherty’s consulting and lobbyist firm, even though no record can be found of any duties he actually performed. When the time came for him to move into an appointed position on the Cook County Board, and thus not be able to continue lobbying local officials, they contend steps were being taken to place him on the payroll of another lobbyist as a way of keeping his subcontract money pouring in.
FBI agents also conducted a raid of McClain’s home in Quincy, walking away with his phone and computer records revealing that he and Madigan had as many as 27 dinner dates scheduled over a yearlong period through April 2019. Prosecutors highlighted that one of the meetings was scheduled just 48-hours after the May 16, 2019 raids had taken place.
This article First appeared in the center square