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Government, Politics & Issues

Ex-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan indicted on federal racketeering charges

John O'Connor
/
AP

Former Illinois House Speaker and ex-Democratic Party boss Michael Madigan was indicted Wednesday in federal court with racketeering, allegedly for taking part in bribery schemes for his own personal gain, according to the indictment.

In unsealing the long-anticipated case, federal prosecutors targeted a Chicago legend who rose from the Southwest Side’s Democratic ward politics to become the most influential figure at the Illinois Capitol for decades.

The prosecution of Madigan — who set a national record by serving as House speaker for 36 years — represents the most significant corruption case in the notoriously toxic world of Chicago and Illinois politics since the conviction a decade ago of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

But Madigan, 79, appears determined to fight the charges aggressively. He has repeatedly professed his innocence in a series of statements, even as the sprawling federal probe penetrated his inner circle and inched steadily closer to turning him into a criminal defendant.

Prosecutors from the office of U.S. Attorney John Lausch, who’s the top federal prosecutor in northern Illinois, leveled the allegations more than a year after Madigan lost his speaker’s gavel and he gave up his seat in Springfield after 50 years as a state representative.

The charges against Madigan were widely speculated since ComEd admitted in 2020 to bribing him. Although Madigan was not explicitly named in court records until now, the prosecutors clearly referred to Madigan in their repeated descriptions of a “Public Official A” who benefitted from ComEd’s bribery.

This story will be updated.

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