Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

mihai-surdu-DeI2BMIMDFA-unsplash-copy-300x200To date, there are 87 women who have reported sexual assault or harassment against Harvey Weinstein. Now credited as the progenitor of the #MeToo movement, Weinstein has retained the help of a prominent Chicago attorney, Donna Rotunno, to represent him against the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against him. Weinstein stands accused of five felony sex crimes

Rotunno has a unique specialty. She primarily represents those who are charged with sexual assault. This case has propelled her into the national spotlight as she attempts to defend her most notorious client, a man who is alleged to have gotten away with rape for decades because of his prominence in the film industry and forcibly and coercively leveraged women into performing sex acts on him as pay to play for landing key roles in film. 

Two of those charges stem from an assault that occurred in 2013 involving allegations of forcible rape and a 2006 allegation that alleges predatory sexual assault. 

tertia-van-rensburg-37121-copy-300x224The trial of Brendt Christiansen, the man accused of murdering Chinese exchange student Yingying Zhang, has begun. Amid claims that there is surveillance evidence showing Christiansen admitting Zhang into his car the night she was murdered, the prosecution will introduce evidence gathered by his longtime girlfriend, who wore a wire for federal investigators, against Christiansen at trial. She will claim that Christiansen repeatedly indicated to her that he wanted to be a serial killer and made other inflammatory proclamations.

Defense attorneys, however, are questioning her sanity and her competency to bear witness against her former boyfriend. They are attempting to subpoena psychiatric evaluations of the former girlfriend citing that it is relevant to the quality of her testimony. Additionally, the witness, referred to only as T.B., will provide evidence that she introduced him to the “BDSM lifestyle” which vaguely translates into fetishists who enjoy bondage and domination. 

“Damaged and Unstable”

max-bender-wJx-K1b7ZLI-unsplash-copy-240x300Chicago taxi driver Mustafa Dikbas was accused of holding a woman hostage and sexually assaulting her in his taxi earlier this year. The man was later arrested in Oswego for a 2007 sexual assault that also occurred within a taxi. 

The investigation began in 2007 when a woman told police that she had been sexually assaulted on a trip from Chicago to Oswego by her cab driver. She was able to provide a description of the driver to police but did not know the name of the cab company and could not provide information on the vehicle. DNA evidence was collected and found its way into the DNA index system. 

Dikbas was arrested earlier this year in a similar assault on a 26-year-old woman in his taxi and charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and kidnapping. Dikbas’s DNA was entered into the system and turned up a match.

simon-migaj-423321-unsplash-copy-300x200Brendt Christiansen told police that he murdered 13 people. Police do not believe him. Police believe that Christiansen did, however, murder Yingying Zhang, a visiting scholar, and that this could have led to other murders had they not caught him. Police were able to turn Christiansen’s girlfriend against him and got her to wear a wire. He described how he murdered Zhang and then went on to tell her that he murdered 12 other people. His girlfriend, Terra Bullis, asked Christiansen if he thought he might be the next successful serial killer and Christiansen told her that he already was and that Zhang was “number 13.”

Police say that Christiansen lured Zhang away from a bus stop and then forced her into his apartment where he raped, beat, and stabbed her. 

Christiansen has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of Yingying Zhang. 

matt-popovich-60437-copy-300x162The Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights protects Americans against unlawful or capricious searches. It is a foundational restriction on government overreach. The Founders knew well the capacity for state-sanctioned violence and wrote specific rules into the Constitution to protect U.S. citizens. While some laud this as the foundation of liberty, others feel it is an encumbrance to justice. Two such officers will now stand trial for providing false or misleading information to judges in order to secure warrants against suspects. These officers stand accused of using the warrants not to bring criminals to justice but rather to steal their drugs and money.

Sgt. Xavier Elizondo and Officer David Salgado stand accused of civil rights conspiracy, among other things. Other officers and at least one judge, Mauricio Araujo, will take the stand for the prosecution. The trial is set to begin on October 7th of 2019.

System of “John Does” Questioned

aaker-746547-unsplash-copy-300x200A 17-year-old is being charged with attempted sexual assault and two counts of aggravated battery. The woman was on the Old Plank Trail in Frankfurt when the attacker, Anthony M. Carbone, allegedly pushed her to the ground. The woman asked him what he was doing and Carbone apparently looked startled and then ran off.

Was this the act of a young man who suddenly came to his senses and realized what he was doing was wrong? Or is it the act of a young man who thought twice about a sex crime he was about to perpetrate?

The police determined at some point during interrogation that Carbone was attempting to rape the woman he knocked over. But the question of how they came about that information and why the man chose to flee instead of continuing to do whatever it was he was doing will complicate their case.

sawyer-bengtson-279792-copy-200x300Ald. Edward Burke has pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption including racketeering and bribery. The 59-page indictment accuses Burke of using his political office to steer business to his tax law firm. In addition, Burke is accused of blocking a plan to raise admission fees at a local museum because the museum had yet to deliver a chit involving an internship for a crony’s daughter.

Now, if you are a regular type of person, you are probably scratching your head. How is any of that illegal? It happens every day. Well, when you position yourself in the crosshairs of powerful people, just about everything can be made illegal. In this case, the alderman and others were the target of an ongoing federal sting that involved no small amount of intrigue.

Federal Investigation Targeted Chicago City Hall

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201Kamel Harris, the man accused of killing and dismembering 2-year-old Kyrian Knox, was acquitted this week by a Chicago jury. The prosecution did not have a strong case against Harris, a fact we discussed in a recent blog post. The prosecution relied heavily on a patchwork motive that they generated out of a lack of possibilities.

Police claimed that Harris, who was looking after Knox “snapped one day” because the baby would not stop crying. Police claimed that the baby was lactose intolerant and was having a bad reaction to milk. However, Kyrian’s mother, Lanisha Knox, told jurors that her son had no such allergy.

Harris maintained his innocence throughout the trial. He contended that Lanisha Knox had sent three men in a van to collect her son from Harris and Harris lost track of the boy once he was in their custody.

jaron-nix-1451678-unsplash-copy-225x300Michael Bailey was about to retire when prosecutors say that Antwon Carter attempted to steal the Buick he had bought himself as an early retirement present. Police say that Bailey attempted to defend himself, but Carter fired back. After Bailey’s wife, Pamela, heard the shots, she ran down the stairs and found her husband lying with his eyes open on the ground. He later died at the hospital.

While Bailey was off duty, he had just finished his shift and was still wearing his uniform when the altercation took place. The crime went unsolved for a year until inmates claim that Carter bragged about the shooting. The case is now a decade old.

Carter is being charged with felony murder, among other things.

samara-doole-259144-unsplash-copy-200x300The body of 2-year-old Kirien Knox was found dismembered in Garfield Park Lagoon. The shocking details of the slaying moved those who witnessed the photos to tears. The man charged with the murder, Kamel Harris, has pleaded not guilty.

According to the prosecution, the boy’s mother, Lanisha Knox, left her son with Harris and five others at an apartment while Knox headed out to set up a new life in Iowa, get jobs, and find an apartment. At some point, Harris stopped responding to calls or texts made by Knox.

Police and the prosecution believe that, at some point, Harris “snapped” and murdered the boy and then tried to dispose of the body. However, they did not list a cause of death. They did, however, indicate that Harris snapped because the boy cried incessantly after a “painful reaction to milk.”