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Convicted ComEd 4 defendants ask for pause ahead of sentencing

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(The Center Square) – Four former executives and lobbyists at the state’s largest utility company convicted in May of conspiring to bribe former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan have asked a judge to pause their case before sentencing in January.

The defendants said that because the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up a case that could affect the outcome, the judge “should stay all proceedings in this matter, including any decision on the pending post-trial motions and any sentencing proceedings,” according to the motion filed Thursday morning.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear the case of James E. Snyder v. U.S., which defense attorneys said could upend the ComEd convictions.

“In approximately six months, the Supreme Court will rule definitively on the question of whether the Government or the Defendants were correct from the start of this case about what conduct is criminal, and thus whether their convictions are valid,” defense attorneys wrote in their motion. “If Defendants’ long-expressed and strenuously argued-for position becomes the law of the land, then the Government will have done a terrible injustice to them by prosecuting them for conduct that is not criminal, irreparably and forever damaging their lives, careers, reputations, and relationships.”

The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on the Synder case by June 2024.

In May, a jury convicted former state lawmaker and lobbyist Michael McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and former contract lobbyist Jay Doherty in a multi-year scheme to bribe Madigan with no-show jobs, contracts and payments to associates in exchange for support with legislation that would benefit the utility’s bottom line.

McClain and Pramaggiore were convicted of nine counts of conspiracy, bribery and willfully falsifying books and records. Hooker and Doherty were convicted of six counts of conspiracy, bribery and willfully falsifying books and records.

McClain is up first for sentencing. McClain’s sentencing is set for 10 a.m. on Jan. 11, 2024. Pramaggiore will be sentenced at 10 a.m. on Jan. 16, 2024. Hooker’s sentencing is at 10 a.m. Jan. 25, 2024. Doherty’s is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2024.

At trial, prosecutors presented secretly recorded videos, wiretapped phone calls and hundreds of emails to show how the four former ComEd executives and lobbyists were “the grandmasters of corruption.”

Prosecutors said that the utility paid out $1.3 million in jobs, contracts and payments to associates of Madigan over eight years in exchange for favorable treatment on legislation in Springfield.

Defense attorneys said the four never bribed anyone and argued the conduct was legal lobbying, including efforts to build goodwill with elected officials.

Madigan, who resigned after losing the House speakership in January 2021, has been charged with 23 counts of racketeering, bribery, and official misconduct alongside McClain in a separate case that could go to trial in April 2024. Madigan has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.

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