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Madigan’s former chief of staff asks for stay after Supreme Court takes up bribery case

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(The Center Square) – The longtime top aide to the former Illinois House Speaker argues a pending U.S. Supreme Court case involving the federal bribery statute could apply to his case even though he was convicted of perjury. Prosecutors claim he has no case.

Tim Mapes, 68, served for decades under former Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan as the clerk of the Illinois House and as Madigan’s chief of staff. In August, a federal jury found Mapes guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying to a grand jury investigating Madigan and others.

In November, Mapes’ defense attorney asked for an acquittal or a new trial. Prosecutors objected. Now, Mapes has asked a federal judge to stay the proceedings in his case until after the U.S. Supreme Court decides Snyder v. United States, a case that focuses on the federal bribery statute.

“If the Supreme Court were to upend Seventh Circuit precedent on the federal bribery statute, it would likely have direct relevance to the perjury and obstruction allegations in this case,” his defense team wrote in the latest motion. “… If the Supreme Court limits the federal bribery statute in Snyder, that will likely have an enormous effect on, among other things, questions of materiality that this Court is considering or, at the very least, calculations concerning sentencing.”

Mapes faces up to 20 years in prison on the obstruction conviction and five years on the perjury conviction. Prosecutors and Mapes’ defense team have yet to file sentencing memos ahead of his sentencing hearing on Jan. 31, 2024.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that the Synder case doesn’t apply to Mapes.

“Mapes argues, without legal support, that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to grant certiorari in United States v. Snyder will affect his conviction and sentence, even though that case involves an entirely different statute than his statutes of conviction,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amarjeet Bhachu wrote. “Even more troubling, Mapes ignores the fact that his false grand jury testimony did not solely concern the statute at issue in Snyder.”

Bhachu called the defense motion a stall tactic.

“In short, Mapes’ motion is a frivolous effort to stall the proceedings in this case,” he wrote.

The Synder case has also come up in two other high-profile public corruption cases in Illinois. The four Commonwealth Edison executives and lobbyists convicted in May of a nine-year scheme to bribe Madigan have also asked for a stay in their case ahead of sentencing citing the Synder case. And Madigan has asked for a stay in his pending corruption case citing Synder. Madigan’s case is set for trial in April 2024.

James Snyder was the mayor of Portage, Indiana. He was convicted of accepting $13,000 from a truck company after the company won bids to sell garbage trucks to the city, according to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Snyder said the money was payment to his consulting business and the truck company owner stated that at the trial. The government alleged Snyder received the payment as a gratuity and didn’t have to prove the payment was for approval of a bid.

The Seventh Circuit upheld the conviction but noted the same conduct would not have been a federal crime in the First and Fifth Circuit courts.

ComEd, the state’s largest utility, agreed to pay $200 million in July 2020 to resolve a criminal investigation into the years-long bribery scheme. As part of a deferred prosecution agreement, ComEd admitted it arranged jobs, vendor subcontracts and payments in a bid to influence Madigan.

Madigan served in the Illinois House from 1971 to 2021. He served as speaker of the Illinois House from 1983 to 1995 and again from 1997 to 2021. He wielded additional power as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Madigan, who resigned after losing the House speakership in January 2021, has been charged with 23 counts of racketeering, bribery and official misconduct in a separate case that could go to trial in April 2024. He has pleaded not guilty.

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