ComEd 4 trial: Former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore returns to stand in bribery case

Michelle Gallardo Image
Monday, April 17, 2023
Former ComEd CEO returns to stand in bribery case
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Defendant Anne Pramaggiore took the stand in the ComEd 4 trial involving former House Speaker Michael Madigan.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Since this trial began, the defense has, at every turn, tried to convince the jury that offering jobs or contracts to people recommended by a public official is not bribery, but a way to create good will.

The defense has also said what their clients engaged in was nothing more than legal lobbying and coalition building.

On Monday, one of the so-called ComEd four returned to the stand after making the potentially risky move of testifying on her own behalf.

A calm, polished demeanor was displayed by defendant Anne Pramaggiore as ComEd's former CEO resumed her testimony regarding her alleged role in what the government said was a multi-year conspiracy to bribe former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan in exchange for legislation favorable to the utility. It's a role she denies ever playing.

SEE ALSO | Chicago political foot soldier Ed Moody takes the stand in 'ComEd Four' trial

"Are you aware of anything that Speaker Madigan did to get these bills passed?" asked defense attorney Scott Lassar.

"No," replied Pramaggiore.

"Were you part of a conspiracy or agreement to influence or bribe Speaker Madigan by hiring people on his request?" prodded Lassar.

"I was not," said Pramaggiore, who, so far, is the only one of the so-called ComEd four who has agreed to take the stand in their own defense.

Her statements, however, stand in contrast to a multitude of emails and phone calls prosecutors have played in court over the last several weeks, including a 2018 conversation between herself and fellow defendant and Madigan confidant Mike McClain, where they happily discuss her promotion to CEO of Exelon.

"It never would have happened without you and John and the Speaker. The only reason I'm in this position is because ComEd has done so well. You guys have been my spirit guides," Pramaggiore said on that call.

There was also a call a few months later, when they discuss her efforts to get Juan Ochoa, a Madigan-backed candidate, appointed to the board of ComEd, referring to Madigan as they often did as "our friend."

"You take good care of me, and so does our friend, and I will do the best that I can to, to take care of you. You're a good man," Pramaggiore said on that call.

What everyone is waiting for, of course, is the government's turn to cross-examine her.

Last week, it came out that Pramaggiore sat down with the U.S. attorney's office in 2019, which would seem to indicate the former executive at one point may have been looking to make a deal.