A special prosecutor has been appointed to investigate Kim Foxx’s State’s Attorney’s Office after the prosecutor trying the case of Jackie Wilson admitted to having a relationship with a witness and then lied on the stand. The ruling included extremely aggressive language describing the incident as an “absolute disgrace,” terminology which has been thrown around a lot in reference to Chicago’s criminal justice system recently. At the very least, the judge accused the State Attorney’s office of ineptitude but also indicated that there is evidence of a cover-up.
Cook County prosecutors argued passionately against having an independent special prosecutor involved in the case. However, they also said they welcomed the investigation and that they would not oppose further investigation into Nick Trutenko who allegedly perjured himself on the stand after having an illicit relationship with a witness.
The special prosecutor will have the authority to investigate the office for wrongdoing surrounding the breakdown of a high-profile case that was highlighted by prosecutorial misconduct. If criminal charges are warranted, the prosecutor will have the authority to convene a grand jury.
The Case of Jackie Wilson
Jackie Wilson was accused of killing a Chicago cop and convicted of the crime in 1982. However, later testimony revealed that Cmdr. Jon Burge used torture to extract these confessions from suspects, so the decision was vacated. The State Attorney’s office had the authority to try the case again, but this time, their case fell apart after one of their prosecutors was involved in conduct that compromised the prosecution.
Burge-related cases were tried by special prosecutors because Chicago’s own was seen to have a conflict of interest. One witness named William Coleman testified in Wilson’s first trial that he heard Wilson confess to the killing. However, Coleman could not be found for the second trial and everyone assumed he was dead. Trutenko, however, told the court that Coleman was alive and they had been good friends since the trial. Trutenko later said that he had not discussed Coleman with special prosecutors, but that turned out to be a false statement. The charges against Wilson were dropped and Trutenko was fired from his job. Special prosecutors also say that Trutenko’s attorney had warned them against asking questions concerning his relationship with Coleman. There are also accusations that damaging personnel information concerning Trutenko was kept from defense attorneys in the case.
Trutenko could face a number of charges including perjury for his role in the cover-up. Chicago PD and the State Attorney’s office want Trutenko to take the full blame. However, there are concerns lingering that include a failure to disclose information that could exonerate a defendant.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you are a Cook County prosecutor, then you may need a Chicago criminal defense attorney. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and allow us to begin building your defense immediately.