Unusual defense plan for Chicago Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson, who carries Chicago's most famous mayoral name at the center of his own political brand, is planning what can only described a "helter-skelter defense" in federal court. When the 11th Ward city councilman goes on trial next Monday, he will try to convince a jury that personal disorganization and carelessness caused financial misconduct that now jeopardizes his livelihood and his liberty.

Alderman Daley Thompson is an attorney; grandson of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley and nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

But that pedigree won't be on trial when the Bridgeport alderman goes on trial at the Dirksen Federal Building. He's charged with lying to U.S. bank regulators and filing false tax returns.

Newly filed court documents by Thompson's attorney describe him as "haphazard" and having provided years of paperwork to his accountant "in a large, disorganized folder that included many superfluous documents."

"He's so scatterbrained; his documentation is all over the place. He didn't intentionally do this," former Chicago federal prosecutor Jeff Cramer summing up the apparent defense gambit that is in the works. "His argument is, I didn't purposely do this."

During the decades there has been a parade of Chicago alderman into federal court, accused of a smorgasbord of crimes. Most cut deals; many are convicted. Some go to jail. The 51-year-old is going to trial, likely because his political career depends on an acquittal.

"You know nothing instills non-confidence in the voters rather than a conviction, so get yourself an acquittal and worry about getting reelected later. The first issue for this defendant is to make sure he doesn't, doesn't go to prison. After that, he can worry about a reelection campaign," Cramer said.

In a new government filing Monday, prosecutors note Daley Thompson is "a practicing lawyer and an elected official who serves on committees, debates legislation, and represents his constituents' interests." In a smack at the upcoming scatterbrain defense, prosecutors note that undoubtedly, there are situations where the alderman "is astute and attentive to details."
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