Former Legislators Take the Stand in Trial of ‘ComEd 4’ – NBC Chicago

In Springfield, all roads and all bills led to powerful House Speaker Mike Madigan, according to testimony Thursday from two former members of the Illinois House who described the Madigan’s power and how he used it.

The testimony came during the trial for the so-called “ComEd 4,” who are accused of using utility company jobs and contracts to bribe and illegally influence Madigan, essentially showering a “stream of benefits” on the former House speaker to avoid his interference with the company’s Springfield agenda.

Scott Drury, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney who came to Springfield in hopes of passing legislation to address what he saw as large number of wrongful convictions in his native Lake County, testified that the Illinois House was run by what many called the “Speaker’s Rules.”

“The House rules gave the speaker ultimate power,” Drury said.

Drury said Madigan would determine House committees, who sat on them and who the chairmen would be. He had the power, Drury said, to control the flow and the schedule of legislation.

Former representative Carol Sente told a similar story, recalling an exchange with the then-speaker about her predatory lending bill.

“He said, ‘Don’t bring that up again, it’s not moving forward,'” she testified.

Both former House members described how Madigan would use the rules committee to either bless or kill litigation.

“The rules committee…I would describe as a black hole,” Drury said.

The alleged control over the House is important to the case because Prosecutors are alleging that ComEd rewarded Madigan with political jobs, legal work and other favors to keep him from interfering with legislation favorable to the company.

Also taking the stand, Lou Lang, who was forced to step down from his seat because of allegations of inappropriate conduct.

He listened as prosecutors played a recording of call during which McClain passes along a message from “someone who cares deeply about you (and) thinks you ought to move on.” Lang realized the message came from Madigan and responded, “I would never embarrass him that way.”

On cross examination Lang said ““In my entire 32-year career, Mike Madigan never ordered me to do anything.”

The next phase of this trial will likely involve hundreds of recordings made by the government from wiretaps and insiders who wore a wire…all in hopes of showing how the former CEO Anne Pramaggiore, lobbyists John Hooker, Michael McClain and Jay Dougherty illegally worked to keep Madigan happy by insuring he stayed in power.

The defendants deny all allegations.

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