Tuesday, June 4, 2019

EXTRA: Burke ‘not guilty,’ or so he pleads; Lightfoot still wants him out!

Long-time Alderman Edward M. Burke entered his legal plea in court on Tuesday, saying he was “not guilty” of any of the criminal charges for which federal prosecutors are now trying to have him put away for up to some 20 years in prison.

BURKE: Claims innocence
For the record, Burke is charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit extortion, two counts each of attempted extortion and federal program bribery and eight counts of use of interstate commerce to facilitate unlawful activity.

NOT THAT SUCH a plea was unanticipated. The shock would have come about if Burke were willing to actually admit to doing anything illegal. His defense is likely to be that the strongarm tactics he uses is merely the way Chicago government operates.

Which could be why Mayor Lori Lightfoot is so eager to keep ranting that Burke ought to resign his post in the City Council – the one that he won so easily back in February even though he had Latino activists trying desperately to dump him from office.

Lightfoot followed up Burke’s plea at the Dirksen Federal Building with her own statement saying the alderman must go NOW!!!, even though he’s under no legal obligation to do so. It’s federal prosecutors who must prove their case in court before Burke can be removed from office.

Which wouldn’t bother me so much, except that it’s the third time Lightfoot has called for Burke’s resignation in the less-than-a-week it has been since Burke’s criminal indictment became publicly known.

FOR SOMEONE WHO is herself a former federal prosecutor, she has to know her pleas for resignation are meaningless. Is she really that much of a broken record?

I can’t help but think that every time from here on in that she opens her mouth on this issue, she merely builds up Burke’s reinforcement to want to fight this charge in court.

LIGHTFOOT: Keeping up rhetoric of resignation
And also bolsters the Burke backers who probably don’t have any serious objection to what he is alleged to have done. Yes, those people do exist!

Ed Burke’s fate will be decided in due time, most likely in the next couple of years – it takes time to work one’s way through the judicial process. And if Burke is destined for a dismal fate, there’s no need to rush it just to appease the ego of Chicago’s newest politico.


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