No verdict yet in Burge trial

July 21, 2010 11:58:42 AM PDT
The jury in the perjury trail of former Chicago police commander Jon Burge has gone home for the night.

Burge could face 45 years in prison if found guilty by a federal jury. He has faced allegations of abuse and torture in previous civil litigation but he has never been convicted of those alleged crimes.

In 2008, he was arrested in his Florida home for federal charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. The government alleges that Burge lied on two sworn statements in one of those civil cases. In those documents that were to be answered under oath, Burge said he never participated in or knew of torture or abuse as a Chicago police officer.

The government presented testimony of five men to the jury who allege Burge tortured them in attempts to get confessions.

Burge testified for more that a day, flatly denying the allegations.

His attorneys argued that Burge was a good police officer who was targeted by criminals looking to make money in civil lawsuits.

Flint Taylor and his law office have represented 15 men who allege torture by Burge and his detectives. He estimates the city of Chicago has paid over $20 million in settlements to those wrongly convicted. But Taylor pointed out that the five men highlighted in this case did not have money to gain.

"There are 110 cases of police torture. The jury heard five of them. I think that the five cases they heard were very strong and if they're considering the evidence that the government put on, I think there's a very good chance that there will be a conviction. However, if they are listening to the emotions that were played upon Beuke and Burge, I think that may be why it's taking them longer to decide," said Taylor.

Deliberations in the case will resume Monday.


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