Tim Mapes, former chief of staff to former House Speaker Michael Madigan, was captured on dozens of undercover FBI recordings talking about his family, political fundraising and whether to get a job after he was ousted in a sexual harassment scandal. in 2018 it could “make women angry”. .”
The conversations, outlined in a defense motion filed over the weekend seeking to keep them out of Mapes’ perjury trial next month, shed new light on behind-the-scenes maneuvering and relationships among key members of the Mapes inner circle. Madigan as a series of scandals. began to threaten the Democratic speaker’s grip on power for decades.
Mapes’ lawyers argued that all or parts of the recordings are damaging, unusable or irrelevant hearsay, including a July 2018 conversation in which Mapes and Michael McClain, the speaker’s longtime confidante, allegedly discussed everything from issues and where they should get a beer to an unspecified comment about former Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa allegedly holding nude press conferences.
Mapes, who has pleaded not guilty, is accused of lying to a grand jury in the federal investigation that led to Madigan’s indictment last year in a high-profile racketeering case. Madigan and McClain, co-defendant in the The Madigan case will be filed next yearalleged to have been involved in a series of bribery and extortion schemes involving utility giants Commonwealth Edison and AT&T as well as a Chinatown land proposal in which Madigan wanted the property tax job for his private law firm.
Prosecutors want to play the recordings to show that Mapes was lying when he testified that he could not remember what McClain’s role was on the Madigan team, including that he acted as go-between for the speaker.
Mapes’ lawyer, Andrew Porter, argues that the tapes involve numerous issues and parts that have nothing to do with the indictment against Mapes and that could prejudice the jury.
The calls largely involve Mapes and McClain, a former Springfield lobbyist. convicted in May ComEd Four bribery-related trial.
Among the calls in question are conversations involving McClain speaking with Madigan, the former president’s son, and numerous political operatives. Federal authorities secretly recorded McClain for months and intend to use a portion of those calls in the Mapes trial.
Mapes’ defense team argued that the court should not allow McClain’s recorded conversations with Mapes’ family, such as when Mapes’ wife discusses her husband’s exercise routine and his inability to get a job. They also wanted to block conversations Mapes had with his son, who discussed in a call how his father was coping just days after he was ousted and another about the death of McClain’s mother. Prosecutors want to consider using the tape as a way to show the close relationship between McClain and Mapes.
The Mapes indictment has drawn particular attention because Madigan’s longtime former chief of staff was granted immunity to testify before the grand jury with the primary caveat that he had to tell the truth, an agreement with which prosecutors maintain that Mapes failed to comply.
But Mapes’ legal team also made it clear that it did not want prosecutors to dwell on the sexual harassment scandals at trial that it said are not relevant to the charges brought against Mapes.
One of the calls they cited is a strategy session involving Mapes, Madigan and McClain. Others on the call included Will Cousineau, a former Madigan staffer turned lobbyist who testified with immunity in the ComEd Four, Ald case. Marty Quinn, who is Madigan’s hand-picked Ward 13 councilman, Heather Wier Vaught, Madigan’s former lead attorney, and Steve Brown, the speaker’s longtime spokesman.
Mapes’ lawyers wrote in the filing that the entire recording involves a “multiple person discussion about whether to form a committee to investigate sexual harassment issues, what a committee would look like, and who might be on the committee. Mr. Mapes barely says anything on the entire recording.”
“Mr. Mapes is not charged with lying or obstructing justice in connection with sexual harassment issues in Springfield,” Mapes’ attorneys wrote, saying the issue was a passing reference in Mapes’ grand jury appearance and was not related to the perjury charges.
Prosecutors identified the recording as a potential way to show McClain was doing chores or assignments for Madigan, a point Mapes allegedly evaded in the grand jury.
The group discussion took place in April 2018, weeks before Madigan ousted Mapes from his longtime roles as chief of staff, House secretary and chief executive of the Madigan-led state Democratic Party. Madigan took steps to remove Mapes in June of that year. after a longtime House staffer accused Mapes of sexual harassment for several years and of fostering a “culture of sexism, harassment and bullying that creates an extremely difficult working environment.” Mapes has disputed the allegations.
Another call that Mapes’ team tried to keep out of his trial has Madigan’s son Andrew reportedly informing McClain that Mapes would be resigning due to the scandal and that Mapes would be removed to avoid being “a distraction.”
The call may help prove part of the government’s case that McClain and the Madigans were so close that they shared such information with each other. But Mapes’ weekend filing establishes that the call is irrelevant and that McClain’s state of mind is not part of the judgment.
In addition, Mapes’s lawyers want to block a call that Mapes had with McClain the day Madigan released Mapes. Prosecutors previously described a call that day as “deeply personal” in which McClain told Mapes he loved him and they discussed the “silly accusations” made by a staff member against Mapes that led to him leaving.
Mapes’ departure came in a year in which Madigan faced a reckoning over #MeToo issues between his staff and political operatives.
In February 2018, Madigan ousted Kevin Quinn, the brother of the 13th Ward councilman, over sexual harassment allegations made by campaign worker Alaina Hampton. The speaker quickly also expelled lobbyist Shaw Decremer, a former government staffer, from his political operations over complaints of abusive behavior in House Democratic campaigns.
In late May 2018, Democratic state representative Lou Lang of Skokie resigned from his House leadership position when a marijuana advocate accused him of sexual harassment, accusations he denied and were later released. considered unfounded by the legislative inspector general. Testimony in the ComEd Four trial showed that Lang resigned under pressure from McClain and Madigan when they learned that another woman was considering coming forward. for alleged problems with Lang if he kept his House seat.
Mapes’ filing also states that he wants out of court a call between McClain and Andrew Madigan in which the two discussed Democratic state representative Sara Feigenholtz of Chicago, who is now a senator, allegedly commenting that she was being “punished” for “driving “. Hampton to hold a press conference about her sexual harassment allegations.
Hampton, in an interview Monday, said no politically connected person pushed her to decide to hold a news conference, adding: “It was a decision I made myself and with my lawyers.”
Similarly, Mapes’ filing says it wants to block a call between McClain and Cousineau about inviting Feigenholtz to meetings to “decline certain criticisms that Representative Feigenholtz had made. about how female lawmakers were treated by Speaker Madigan.”
The filing also described a discussion between McClain and Mapes over a breakfast meeting between Mapes and Anne Pramaggiore, a former ComEd CEO who was later convicted in the ComEd Four case.
Mapes’ conversation with Pramaggiore, long before she was indicted, included discussions “regarding a possible position with ComEd or Exelon,” ComEd’s parent company, according to Mapes’ brief. The defense reported that she would withdraw her objection to this recording, although Mapes may want to leave some comments out if prosecutors wish to present the recording to a jury.
Mapes also withdrew an objection to the general conversation he had with McClain that included discussing Mapes’ career options following his ouster and whether someone hiring him would “upset women” following his own scandal.
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“There are a handful of statements on the call, including the aforementioned statement about ‘pissing off women,’ that Mr. Mapes believes should be redacted,” Mapes’ defense motion said, “but Mr. Mapes intends to meet and consult with the government on those issues in good faith.”
The July 2018 comment that La Russa was nude while speaking to reporters has no context or elaboration, but is part of a list of topics in a conversation presented in the brief that Mapes’ lawyers found inadmissible.
Other topics included discussions of McClain’s fundraising goals for the state Democratic Party, and a statement by McClain that he had “an assignment” to speak with the then-representative. Sam Yingling, a Democrat from Grayslake, on whether the lawmaker intended to support Madigan in his bid to be re-elected speaker after the fall 2018 election.
Prosecutors want to use the recording to show that Mapes knew McClain was taking assignments from Madigan despite alleged grand jury statements that raised questions for prosecutors.
But Mapes’ defense team said McClain used the word “assignment” “loosely” in the conversation and, even combined with discussions about Yingling, the conversation is “tantamount to a recording of McClain saying to Mapes: ‘ I’m on a task to buy Madigan a chicken sandwich.”