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Former ESL police chief guilty of corruption charges

Former police chief Ronald Matthews (KWMU photo)


East St. Louis, Ill. – A federal jury in East St. Louis on Wednesday convicted that city's former Police Chief of obstructing federal investigators and lying to a grand jury.

Ronald Matthews resigned after he was charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, attempted obstruction of justice and perjury. The charges were related to the arrest of a felon who had served as an auxiliary police officer.

The jury on Wednesday made its decision after deliberated for less than three hours. Matthews is now free on bond until he's sentenced on March 20. His attorney says Matthews would appeal.

Prosecutors said Matthews plotted to shield an auxiliary officer from a possible criminal probe and deportation after the volunteer was found to be a felon in possession of a firearm.

Federal prosecutors say the conviction of Matthews is an important case for the people of East St. Louis. Matthews' defense centered around the claim that he had been set up by federal agents who were eager to ensnare a "bigger fish" as a trophy.


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