Closing arguments continue in corruption trial of former Chicago Ald. Ed Burke

Sarah Schulte Image
Friday, December 15, 2023
Closing arguments continue in Ed Burke corruption trial
Closing arguments continued Thursday in the federal corruption trial of former Chicago Alderman Ed Burke.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Closing arguments continued Thursday in the corruption trial of former Chicago alderman Ed Burke.

Ed Burke didn't make a dime nor did his law firm from the schemes he is charged with, defense attorney Joe Duffy argued during his closing argument.

Duffy told the jury, "The government has provided you with a lot of noise and congestion."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane MacArthur wrapped up a six-hour closing argument where she painstakingly summed up the six week trial for the jury, guiding them through the evidence and counts associated with four different schemes. Tt was an argument Duffy said left his "head spinning."

MacArthur mainly focused on the Old Post Office renovation project, the centerpiece of the government's case against Burke. When former alderman, turned government mole, Danny Solis agreed to cooperate with the feds, MacArthur told jurors there was no expectation the investigation would have anything to do with Burke until he was heard on a recording asking Solis to pitch Burke's private law firm, Klafter & Burke to the Old Post Office developer.

Burke is accused of shaking down the developer to steer property tax appeal work to his law firm. The evidence is played out in secret recordings between Burke and Solis.

The infamous "landing the tuna" line referred to Burke asking Solis if the developers had agreed to use Klafter & Burke, when they dragged their feet and needed Tif money for the project, Burke is heard saying this to Solis in another recording....

"As far as I'm concerned they can go f*** themselves," Burke said to Solis in a secret recording. "Good luck getting it on the agenda."

MacArthur argued Burke was not willing help the Old Post Office developer with various issues, but jumped back into action after the developer agreed to use Burke's law firm for another development.

MacArthur told the jury of nine women and three men, "It is really a master class in Burke using and exerting his power."

Duffy argued the government has yet to figure out what crime was committed.

The trial's closing arguments will continue on Friday, and the jury is expected to deliberate soon.