Feds request more time to indict legendary Chicago Alderman Ed Burke

ByChuck Goudie and Ross Weidner and Barb Markoff WLS logo
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Feds request more time to indict legendary Chicago Alderman Ed Burke
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In court documents filed Monday, federal prosecutors asked for more time to get their case in order for a grand jury to indict Alderman Ed Burke on extortion charges.

By the time the snow melts in Chicago, city council strongman Ald. Edward Burke (14th Ward) could be facing a federal corruption indictment.

That is the plan by federal prosecutors, according to newly-filed court papers on Monday.

U.S. Attorney John Lausch is asking for a 90-day extension to put the investigation in order for a grand jury to indict Ald. Burke.

In a motion for more time, Lausch says he needs until May 3 to ask a federal grand jury to hand up an indictment against Burke.

The investigation that has already rocked Burke, Chicago government and the upcoming city election, resulted in Burke's arrest on Jan. 3.

Burke, 75, currently stands charged in a federal criminal complaint with attempted extortion, alleging the shakedown of two fast food businessmen looking to renovate their Southwest Side restaurant.

Prosecutors, who typically present criminal cases to a grand jury and then ask for indictments, say they need additional time to work out details due to "the complex nature of this public corruption case."

Monday's filing claims Burke used actual and threatened fear of economic harm in the attempted extortion.

He has denied any wrongdoing.

Burke's attorneys did not immediately respond to I-Team requests for comment Monday on prosecutors' angling for a federal indictment.

As the federal investigation continues, it is also possible that a grand jury could be asked to lodge additional, new charges against the legendary 14th Ward alderman who is married to a state supreme court justice.

Burke stepped down as City Council Finance Committee chairman shortly after the complaint against him was filed, but he has held on as alderman and is still running for re-election next month.

Burke was to appear in court Friday for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there would be probable cause to proceed. That court date has been scrubbed and a judge is expected to grant the delay requested by prosecutors so they can move forward on a grand jury indictment.