Ex-Ald. Danny Solis, secret mole in Ed Burke corruption case, poised to be 1st witness for defense

Craig Wall Image
Monday, December 11, 2023
Ex-Ald. Solis, secret mole in Burke case, set to testify for defense
Danny Solis, a secret government mole in the corruption case against Ed Burke, Chicago alderman at one time, is set to testify for the defense.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Former Alderman Danny Solis, the secret government mole in the corruption case against Ed Burke, is poised to be the first witness for the defense.

The prosecution wrapped up its case on Monday against Burke, with much of the focus on alleged criminal activities by one of Burke's co-defendants, Charles Cui.

But, after hearing hours of recordings that Solis made with Burke, the defense is now preparing to try and undo some of the damage.

Solis arrived in court shortly before noon, but then remained out of sight for much of the afternoon, waiting to be called as the first witness for the defense.

With prosecutors raising concerns about the defense trying to impeach Solis on the witness stand, the defense filed a motion, informing the judge they will not bring up any crimes Solis committed or the nature of his deal with the government.

But, they outlined their questioning strategy, in part, saying, "The first two hours of the examination of Mr. Solis will consist of taking him through the relevant events, the words spoken on tape, what he and others did, and his motives for making various statements."

Much of the government's case rests on the secretly recorded videos Solis made of interactions with Burke and the FBI's wiretaps of Burke's phone calls with Solis.

In it, the jury has heard what prosecutors contend were numerous corrupt efforts by Burke to benefit his law firm.

Burke is accused of trying to strong arm the developers of the old post office and a Burger King in his ward. He has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys hope to turn the prosecutor's star witness into their best defense to blunt the impact of the tapes on the jury.

Testimony on Monday centered on a pole sign that the owner of the Binny's building on the Northwest Side needed a permit to use, but could not get.

Cui, one Burke's co-defendants, told FBI agents during an interview in 2018 that he hired Burke for a year to help out with a property tax appeal, also saying he needed Burke's help with a TIF. But, the judge has told jurors this can only be considered in the case against Cui, not Burke.

Cui's attorney spent considerable time on Monday afternoon trying to undermine the testimony of an FBI agent involved in that interview.

There will be no court on Tuesday morning, because Solis has a funeral to attend. Lawyers are expected to work on jury instructions during that time.