Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

kristina-flour-185592-copy-300x192A self-proclaimed madam is on trial for prostitution charges and may be in more trouble still after posting an ad online at sexyjobs.com. The ad promised an extraordinary opportunity to work at a Chicago-based “members only” club. In the ad, she describes the “Premier Playhouse” as a kink-friendly place that has been providing “legal fun” for “over ten years.” Now, federal prosecutors want her jailed while she is awaiting trial on charges that she set up a bawdy house right here in Chicago.

No-fun prosecutors allege that 31-year-old Jessica Nesbitt (aka: Madame Priscilla Belle) set up a house of prostitution, conspired to commit prostitution, and illegally structured bank withdrawals to evade reporting requirements. 

Madame Priscilla has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has since been released on a $250,000 bond. As part of the bond release, she was restricted from doing any business through her company, Kink Extraordinaire. Nor is she allowed to have any contact with her former employees. Prosecutors have asked the federal judge to revoke Madame Priscilla’s bond. 

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Rule 26 went into effect on January 1st, but some counties are implementing a 30-day “trial period” to comply with the state’s new rule. Other counties have already implemented the new rule, and have seen benefits. The rule, which passed in the last legislative session, will impact how bail and pretrial release works in the State of Illinois. It is the result of two separate initiatives on the best practices for criminal justice

The pilot program began as early as 2016 with 11 counties volunteering to adopt the measures. The initiative, which had its fair share of detractors, changes the way the bail system works and does away with money bail. Instead, the judge conducts a pretrial risk assessment when deciding if or when a suspect will be released and what kind of supervision they require. The ultimate goal of Rule 26 is to decrease jail populations.

In other words, instead of paying your way out of a jail cell, judges, in concert with other law enforcement officials, will be able to conduct risk assessments on suspects to determine whether or not they should be released on their own recognizance. However, ultimately, it is the judge’s decision alone that will impact if a suspect is released and the conditions of that release. 

didier-weemaels-36055-copy-300x251State Senator Tom Cullerton is now facing federal charges that embezzled funds from the Teamsters. Federal authorities are accusing Cullerton of collecting a nearly $190,000 salary plus bonuses for vehicle and cellphone usage. He is also said to have taken $64,000 in health and pension contributions while doing apparently nothing for the Teamsters union. 

Cullerton faced a grand jury indictment in August on one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union, one count of lying about a public health matter, and 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union. 

Cullerton is one of three elected officials to face federal charges amid a federal probe into corruption in Chicago and Illinois. Cullerton has pleaded not guilty to all charges and expressed eagerness to clear his good name. 

aidan-bartos-313782-copy-300x200The Chicago City Colleges ex-vice-chancellor has been charged alongside seven others for multiple counts of wire fraud. According to federal authorities, Sharod Gordon awarded contracts to a number of companies that had ties to Gordon’s relatives and other associates. In some cases, police say, no work was ever performed. Gordon’s ex-wife and other associates were charged in the $350,000 scheme to defraud the government. Gordon is accused of awarding the contracts in exchange for kickbacks—a clear violation of basic ethics and corruption statutes

The current chancellor, Juan Salgado, said that new safeguards were to be put in place to avoid future problems. Salgado said the district will hire a procurement director to vet all contracts prior to them being offered. This includes requiring potential vendors to provide an economic disclosure statement and be in business for at least two years.

What was Gordon’s Role?

fabio-bracht-e3oE-l-rtpA-unsplash-copy-300x225In 2018, Alex Cordell Hughs was charged with shooting a victim in a Hobart Walmart. The incident began when Hughs and his girlfriend, Shaqueta Wright, were trying to put their cart back. The victim’s car veered into them prompting some kind of skirmish during which the victim was shot three times, allegedly by Hughs. 

After being charged, Wright pled the Fifth and was given “use immunity” by prosecutors. Afterward, Wright provided the police with some information during a deposition which prosecutors requested be read into the record. Use immunity prevents a defendant’s testimony from being entered against them in a trial. 

Wright’s attorney is also representing Hughs in the case against a false reporting charge.  Naturally, Hugh’s defense attorney (who is also representing Wright) objected to the request on the grounds that the prosecution must give her use immunity while she is on the stand as well, the testimony might be able to open her up to other charges.

jay-wennington-N_Y88TWmGwA-unsplash-copy-300x200Attila Gyulai, the owner of a fine dining establishment in the West Loop, has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Gyulai had returned to Chicago to face four counts of fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 25th of 2020. He and his wife owned and operated Embreya restaurant, a high-end Asian establishment. The restaurant opened in 2012 and received excellent reviews, but shut down only four years later. 

Examining the Plea Agreement

Gyulai’s plea agreement is interesting. Essentially, Gyulai admitted guilt to one allegation of wire fraud but also stated that he did not agree with all the details of the other allegations. The plea agreement essentially states that between 2014 and 2016, Gyulai defrauded minor shareholders in his restaurant and lied about how money generated by the restaurant was used. As part of the scheme, there was a nearly $15,000 money transfer out of the restaurant’s coffers.

david-von-diemar-745969-unsplash-copy-200x300Lowell Houser calmly called the police, identified himself as an off-duty Chicago police officer, and told the dispatcher that he had to shoot the man who just came after him. The man was Jose Nieves, a neighbor who was not found with a weapon, and the two were known to have issues with one another in the past. When prosecutors caught wind of that, they charged Houser with first-degree murder.

Now, another disgraced Chicago police officer will stand trial for abusing the public trust and tarnishing the badge. If convicted, Houser could face life in prison without parole. 

Houser will claim that he was acting in self-defense and that the shooting was justified. He claims that Nieves threatened to shoot him and reached for his waistband. 

matt-popovich-60437-copy-300x162Based on the strength of testimony from other Chicago cops and a Chicago judge, police officers Xavier Elizondo and David Salgado were recently found guilty of stealing cash and drugs and otherwise profiting on the drug trade they were supposed to be eliminating. The federal trial made national headlines because it detailed the type of corruption that goes on every day in Chicago. These police were accused and then convicted of lying on search warrants, using money and drugs from seizures to pay off informants who would provide anonymous information to judges who would then authorize illegal searches.

If you are concerned that this is a civil rights violation, then you are thinking about this the right way. So-called John Doe search warrants that have anonymous informants tattling on suspects were at the heart of the problem these two Chicago police officers caused. Nonetheless, these search warrants will continue to be used long after this trial has concluded.

Officers Remain Free

sam-poullain-435864-unsplash-copy-300x169A 9-year-old stands accused of starting a fire that killed five people, including three other children. He has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson, and one count of aggravated arson. Cases like this are rare. The youngest child ever to be sentenced to life in prison was Lionel Tate, when he was 13. This child, whose name has been withheld by authorities will be among the youngest ever to stand trial for murder.

More confusing still is that fact that the majority of children who were tried as adults did not commit some other crime that resulted in a death, but murdered someone else with a direct weapon. This child is accused of starting a fire that led to five deaths.

Prosecutors say that they have enough evidence to prove that the child started the fire intentionally and knew that the fire could result in the deaths or injury of other people. However, child psychologists argue that the 9-year-old brain has not fully developed enough to understand the consequences of those actions.

louis-reed-747388-unsplash-copy-300x200A man entered a 43-year-old woman’s apartment through a back door that she had left open to get some air and sexually assaulted her. A year passed with no suspects. Now, DNA links Christopher Nelson to the crime. He has been denied bail.

Decades of CSI-style TV shows have led the American public to believe that DNA evidence is unimpeachable. Indeed, it provides law enforcement with its best means of tracking individuals to certain crimes. DNA links Nelson to the crime and the woman he assaulted also picked him out of a lineup.

Understanding DNA Evidence in Rape Cases