Loyalty for ‘the boss’ shown in recordings, prosecutors say in Madigan-related corruption case



(The Center Square ) – More recorded phone calls involving former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan could be revealed in a federal court.

Next month’s trial of former Madigan Chief of Staff and House Clerk Tim Mapes deals with allegations that Mapes lied to investigators and obstructed justice. In court filings this week, Mapes moved to exclude some evidence. Prosecutors detailed the types of recordings they have in requesting Mapes’ motion be denied.

“It is essential that the jury learn about the close relationship between [Madigan confidant and codefendant Michael McClain] and Mapes before, during, and after the 2017 to 2019 Timeframe,” prosecutors said. “Their close relationship and consistent communications demonstrate that Mapes could not have forgotten the critical role McClain played in Madigan’s political operation when he testified in March 2021.”

Mapes served in leadership within Madigan’s office for more than two decades. He also served as executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois before resigning both positions amid a harassment and bullying allegation in 2018.

Among the evidence prosecutors are looking to use in next month’s trial are calls between Mapes and McClain about Mapes’ resignation, sexual harassment allegations, legislation concerning a parcel in Chingatown and Mapes divulging a meeting with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Any communications in which McClain tells Mapes about interactions with Madigan is relevant, as they demonstrate that Mapes’ repeated testimony that he did not know what McClain did for Madigan from 2017 to 2019 was false,” prosecutors said.

In one call, prosecutors said “McClain later told Mapes that he was ‘a little put out with’ Madigan for the way he treated Mapes, and that he was thinking of telling Madigan, ‘I never thought you would be the one to leave the fox hole.’”

“The volume of calls between the two men is also highly probative, particularly where, as here, the defense will be that Mapes had a failure of memory,” prosecutors said. “Here, Mapes had dozens of calls with McClain in the nearly one year of the wiretap.”

In one call from Feb. 19, 2019, prosecutors tell the court “At the end of the call, Mapes again says, ‘I’m just reporting in,’ again clearly showing that he was intending to keep McClain in the loop, so that Madigan too could be kept in the loop.”

In another call May 30, 2018, prosecutors said Mapes asks McClain, “so any suggestions for tomorrow? For anything, the boss, the family, I don’t care?”

Other recordings prosecutors want to give the jury involved McClain and Madigan, McClain and Madigon’s son, and even Madigan using McClain’s phone to make calls.

Saint Xavier University professor David Parker said if the jury hears clear evidence of wrongdoing in such audio recordings, it could be damaging to the defense.

“And especially when you’re hearing that from somebody’s own voice,” Parker told The Center Square. “How do you sit there and say, they’re going to say ‘I never said that.’ We just heard you say it. We just heard somebody substantiate it. It’s not innuendos anymore really.”

Dozens of audio and video recordings were used in the “ComEd Four” trial earlier this year that resulted in guilty verdicts in the case alleging the utility curried favor from Madigan for favorable legislation. Madigan goes on trial in the case next spring.

Despite the guilty verdicts in the ComEd Four trial and the pending trials of Madigan next year and next month’s trial of Mapes, state legislators have yet to pass ethics reforms to address the founded and alleged wrongdoing.

Parker said ethics reforms at the Illinois Statehouse can only go so far. There needs to be a change in the culture.

“They’re gonna have to address the cultural factors and personal integrity and look around and so these types of criminal prosecutions really matter when someone starts weighing things out and saying No. 1, is it worth the risk,” Parker said.

Madigan faces trial in the case next spring. He’s pleaded not guilty.



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