CHICAGO — A federal jury has convicted a former Chicago official on all counts for taking bribes to steer $100 million in red-light camera contracts to a Phoenix company.
Jurors returned with a guilty verdict on all 20 counts Tuesday afternoon. They began deliberating the day before.
Prosecutors accused John Bills, the former second-in-command at Chicago's Department of Transportation, of accepting cash and gifts to help Redflex Traffic Systems obtain contracts.
In final arguments Monday, U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon pointed out hotels stays, golf trips, an Arizona condominium, a South Side Chicago apartment and a Mercedes given to Bills for his efforts.
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The U.S. attorney for the Chicago area says there is no evidence that high-level officeholders took bribes in the city's red-light camera contracts scandal.
U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon's comments came during closing arguments Monday in the trial of John Bills, a former Chicago official accused of taking bribes to steer red-light camera contracts, the Chicago Tribune (http://trib.in/1QpK7wh) reported. Prosecutors accuse Bills, the former second in command at Chicago's Department of Transportation, of accepting cash and gifts to help Redflex Traffic Systems obtain contracts.
Defence attorney Nishay Sanan told jurors in closing arguments that the money really went to "lobbyists who funneled it upstairs," tossing out names including Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Alderman Edward Burke.
"You don't give that kind of money to a guy like John Bills. You give it to people who can get things done," Sanan said.
Fardon called Sanan's contention "malarkey."
"That is baloney, that is crazy," Fardon told jurors. "The idea that lobbyists were paid to funnel money to people like Mike Madigan and Ed Burke and Rahm Emanuel is pretty grandiose, but there is not one single shred of evidence that supports any of it."
Prosecutors produced emails in which Bills described his efforts for Redflex. No elected officials have been implicated by prosecutors in the scheme.
A federal jury began deliberations Monday after a two-week trial. Deliberations were set to resume Tuesday.
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com
The Associated Press