Burge tears up at torture trial

June 17, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Burge has made very few public statements about the charges he's facing. He took the witness stand just about 10 a.m. to testify in his defense.

While on the stand, Burge said he has a failing short-term memory because of his cancer treatment, but his long-term memory is excellent.

When asked about the arrest of Andrew Wilson in 1982, Burge became emotional.

Wilson would be convicted of killing two police officers.

Burge turned red and wiped a tear away. And when offered a tissue by the Judge, Burge said softly: "Thank you your honor."

His attorney asked him about two murder suspects, Anthony Holmes and Melvin Jones, who allege that he beat and tortured them.

He denied torturing or abusing both of them.

"Did you attach some sort of wires to his legs?" asked the attorney about Holmes.

"No sir," said Burge.

"Did you . . . or any officer that you know of ever put a bag over his head?" asked the attorney.

"No sir," said Burge.

Testimony continued about Jones.

"Did you produce a device that looked like a curling iron?" asked the attorney.

"No sir," Burge said.

"Did you plug a device with a cord into the wall?" asked the attorney.

"No sir," Burge said.

"Did you shock him in any manner?" asked the attorney.

"No sir," Burge said.

"Did you put your gun to Mister Jones' head?" asked the attorney.

"No sir," Burge said.

"Did you ever strike him in any manner?" asked the attorney.

"No sir," Burge said.

Regarding the allegations that he played Russian roulette with Shadeed Mu'min, Burge said "I might not be a Mensa candidate, but I'm not that stupid."

Former police officer Michael McDermott testified that at one time he saw Burge put a clear, plastic item in front of Mu'min's face. Mu'min has claimed that he was suffocated three times by Burge with a clear typewriter bag, twice passing out.

Asked about McDermott's testimony, Burge said that McDermott was under a lot of stress, was distraught, and was under a lot of pressure to testify.

Before the rapid fire questions, Burge gave the jurors a rundown of his police career and the commendations he received from the Chicago Police Department and U.S. Army.

Burge is charged with obstruction of justice and accused of lying about torturing subjects in the 1970s and 1980s. Burge, who was fired from the CPD in 1993 over allegations that he mistreated a suspect, is not charged with torture because of the statue of limitations.

The trial has concluded for Thursday, but the trial will resume on Monday with Burge under cross-examination.

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