CPD commander accused of torture wants trial moved

May 24, 2010 10:38:52 AM PDT
Having his case publically compared to the government's trial against Al Capone, former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge is asking a federal judge to move his perjury trial out of Chicago.

In a motion filed today, Burge's attorney stated that recently a "publicity campaign" mounted by plaintiff's lawyer G. Flint Taylor exposed potential jurors to prejudicial publicity. Burge says he cannot get a fair trial here.

Taylor was interviewed by three Chicago media outlets last week which, according to defense attorney Richard Beuke "comes on the heels of the jury qualification letter being sent out to prospective jurors."

It is rare for a judge to grant a change of venue. This is the second time Burge has filed such a request. In April of 2009, Burge said he would not receive a fair trial "due to the pervasive, prejudicial pretrial publicity". U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow denied his motion exactly three months later.

Burge, who is 62 and lives in Florida, is scheduled to go on trial May 24th. He is charged with obstruction of justice and perjury. Prosecutors say Burge lied under oath in a 2003 lawsuit when he denied torturing black suspects into confessions in the 1970s and 1980s.

Burge has pleaded not guilty and denies knowledge of any torture.