CHICAGO (AP) - 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.
CHICAGO (AP) — 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, according to the Chicago Tribune, U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon detailed hotels stays, golf trips, an Arizona condominium, a South Side Chicago apartment and a Mercedes given to Bills for his efforts.
Defense attorney Nishay Sanan told jurors in his 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.
No elected officials have been implicated by prosecutors in the scheme, and Fardon called Sanan's contention "malarkey."
"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," Fardon said.
Prosecutors produced emails in which Bills described his efforts for Redflex.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled Redflex's contract in 2013 following the newspaper's reports of the alleged bribery scheme. Bills retired from his job as the city's managing deputy commissioner of transportation in 2011, and he was charged in 2014.