Patrick Daley Thompson trial: Jury finds Chicago alderman guilty of tax fraud, lying to feds

Thompson 'saw an opportunity to lie (and) he took it,' prosecutors say

ByCraig Wall and Liz Nagy via WLS logo
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
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Chicago Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson refused to say a word Monday after a jury found him guilty on all charges in his tax fraud trial.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson was found guilty Monday of lying to federal regulators and cheating on his tax returns for five years.

Daley Thompson, the 52-year-old grandson and nephew of both Richard Daleys, refused to say a word as he ran from court to a waiting SUV surrounded by family.

A jury of eight women and four men found the alderman guilty on all seven counts against him: five for tax fraud and two for lying to federal bank regulators.

"Extremely disappointed in the verdict, it was wrong," defense attorney Chris Gair said. "And I'm extremely disappointed in the United States Attorney's office for bringing this prosecution, and for the things it said in the closing arguments.""

The jury deliberated his fate for a little over three hours. Defense attorneys tried to convince jurors that what happened in this case was simply a series of mistakes on his taxes by an over-scheduled alderman with a well-known last name.

But prosecutors successfully convinced the jury that Thompson knew exactly what he was doing when he falsely claimed thousands of dollars in mortgage deductions over five years for a loan that wasn't a mortgage and one that he only made a single payment on.

SEE ALSO | Patrick Daley Thompson joins astonishing number of guilty Chicago aldermen

Prosecutor Michelle Peterson made her case to jurors on Monday morning during closing arguments.

RELATED | Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson indicted, faces charges involving failed Bridgeport bank

"When he saw an opportunity to lie, to deceive, to pay less than he owed, he took it," Peterson said.

Peterson emphasized that "making a mistake on your taxes is not a crime," but said Thompson "made a choice" and "knew his decisions were false."

"That's a crime when you know it and you do it," Peterson said.

"So it really comes down to the alderman's intent," said former federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer. "Did he intend to commit tax fraud? Did he intend to take this loan and have no intention of repaying, it but still took the mortgage deduction? Or is he as his lawyers contend? Basically a fool, you know, scatterbrain."

"If he was John Smith, it would have just been a call from the IRS and pay a penalty," 38th Ward Ald. Nick Sposato said.

Gair also said the prosecution was desperate to convict a Daley. He said his client simply made mistakes.

SEE ALSO | Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson's attorneys claim government taking 'kitchen sink' approach to trial

"He did what an honest person does when they found out they've made a mistake," Gair said. "He fixed it."

He added that Thompson was unaware of mortgage deductions.

"Our defense is not that he's stupid," Gair said. "Our defense is that he didn't know he had these mortgage deductions."

Prosecutor Brian Netols told jurors during his rebuttal argument that Thompson was not targeted because he was a Daley, but because of what he did.

"No one is so big, no one is so important they can't be held accountable for their criminal conduct," Netols said.

A guilty verdict costs Thompson his seat on the Chicago City Council, his law license, the Daley family's reputation and of course, his freedom.

"Alderman Patrick Thompson has been judged by a jury of his peers and found guilty," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday. "This week, we will be outlining an open and transparent process to fill the vacancy with a qualified public servant that represents the values of the residents of the 11th Ward and the City of Chicago."

With Daley Thompson's conviction and impending sentence in federal prison, a piece of Chicago's political dynasty now crumbles.

"The Daley family will continue to be seen as a very powerful family, but this has changed the perception of them forever," ABC7 political analyst Laura Washington said.

Thompson's sentencing hearing will be on July 6 at 10:00 a.m.