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The son-in-law of Joseph Barrios has pled not guilty to federal bribery charges in October. 41-year-old James Weiss is accused of bribing a state representative and senator for legislation that would benefit gaming and gambling operations in Cook County. 

Weiss will face eight counts of bribery, fraud, mail fraud, and lying to the FBI. The indictment also added charges to Luis Arroyo’s case which initially involved defrauding a federal program. Arroyo will face expanded charges of wire and mail fraud. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Sweepstakes Machines or Gray Machines

After nearly a decade of insisting that Michael LaPorta shot himself with a police officer’s service revolver, they are now asking for the man’s help bringing the police officer to justice. LaPorta, who can no longer walk, read, or care for himself, is cared for by his mother. Nonetheless, the city is hoping to subpoena his testimony for the upcoming disciplinary hearing that may allow them to remove the officer from the force. 

LaPorta’s mother reported being “floored” by the request. After decades of insisting LaPorta had fired the shot that changed his life into his own head, they are seeking to compel LaPorta to provide testimony. The quality of that testimony and its necessity for this disciplinary hearing is unclear. 

The History

The latest in police violence occurred just outside of Chicago when a white officer shot a Black security guard outside of a bar. Prosecutors announced that there would be no charges filed against officer Ian Covey. The Cook County state attorney’s office said that the “totality of evidence” was “not enough” to press criminal charges against the officer. 

In apparent anticipation of the potential backlash, State Attorney Kim Foxx told the press that they had interviewed over 100 witnesses and this evidence was examined by her office and the public integrity task force that helps take down bad cops. 

What Happened?

The Chicago P.D. has been given the dubious distinction of getting a grade of F when it comes to clearing sexual assault cases, according to a new study released by the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE). According to the report, between 80% and 90% of reported sexual assaults have not resulted in an arrest. 

While the report highlighted the fact that clearance rates remain a major problem for CPD, the report also focused on the effects that unresolved sexual trauma has on victims. Many who are too afraid or traumatized to speak up do not see the value when there is only a 10% chance of the perpetrator’s case making it so far as the district attorney. This has created a situation where the majority of women who are sexually assaulted, never see the value in reporting the crime. 

What is CAASE?

Notable actor Jerry Harris, who skyrocketed to fame after his appearance in Netflix’s “Cheer” docuseries, is facing charges related to child pornography. The Cook County native is alleged to have solicited sexual pictures and videos from boys as young as 13 years old at cheerleading competitions. 

Harris has been on talk shows, the Oscars, and has more than 1 million followers on Instagram.

Harris Arrested by the FBI

A woman who was dragged by the hair out of her car during an arrest will not face misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct. The woman Mia Wright claims that officers dragged her out of her car by her hair near the Brickyard Mall and then knelt on her neck for a period of time. City officials refused to explain why they dropped the charges against the woman. 

An attorney for Mia Wright said that anyone who looked at the video would see that the police officers’ reaction was baseless and unnecessary. 

The Video

A day after one of the officers wrote an unhinged email expressing his contempt for anyone who might take issue with the fact that an innocent woman who worked saving lives and had no criminal record was senselessly murdered as she slept in her apartment, a grand jury is recommending charges against Brett Hankinson, the only officer who was relieved of duty.

Hankinson was scape-goated for wantonly firing rounds into Breonna Taylor’s residence, but it is not apparent that he did anything differently from the other officers. Neither does the grand jury’s recommendation address how easily police were able to get a warrant against Taylor without any material evidence of wrongdoing. Louisville has made “no-knock” warrants illegal even as police say they announced themselves prior to entry. Police believed Taylor was guilty of drug trafficking due to an association with an ex-boyfriend.

The City of Louisville announced they would be settling the Taylor family’s wrongful death lawsuit against the city for $12 million.

A man known as “Dreadhead Cowboy” is facing felony charge of animal cruelty after riding his horse down the Dan Ryan Expressway on Monday. The cowboy, whose real name is Adam Hollingsworth, is facing one count of aggravated animal cruelty. 

Hollingsworth was facing charges of using a non-highway vehicle on the highway, obstruction of traffic, criminal trespass, disobeying an officer, and reckless conduct. 

Dreadhead was riding his horse up and down the highway yelling “kids lives matter.” for some reason. This appears to be a part of the QAnon conspiracy that has blossomed in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein suicide. Numerous motorcycles and other vehicles flanked the cowboy as he did his thing.

A former Chicago public school staffer has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI concerning the divulging of information related to a custodial contract to one of the bidders. Pedro Soto is accused of leaking bid information to one of the bidders and then lying about the fact to the FBI.

Soto resigned from his position as one of Janice Jackson’s top aides after it was discovered that he leaked deliberations concerning the $1 billion contract to one of the bidders in exchange for “various benefits.” The prosecution was the cherry on top of an investigation into Alderman Daniel Solis who was recorded trading favors on wiretapped conversations. Soto and Solis are linked together by a political operative known as “Individual B” who helped broker deals between the men. This individual has not been charged with any crime and thus their identity remains a secret.

Soto Reaches a Plea Deal

A Chicago rabbi is facing federal charges alleging that he defrauded at least 75 people out of a reported $23 million. One of the people, federal officials noted, was a survivor of the holocaust. The fraud involved the purchasing of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

Zvi Feiner will face charges related to 10 counts of wire fraud, federal officials say. 

The Indictment

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