The trial of Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th Ward) on seven charges that he lied to federal bank regulators and filed false tax returns is set to start Oct. 18 — but members of the public and the news media will not be allowed inside the courtroom as part of an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, a judge ruled Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Franklin Valderrama said during a brief hearing Tuesday that he would only allow defense attorneys and prosecutors into the courtroom at the Dirksen United States Courthouse. As many as 25 observers, including Daley Thompson’s family members and government agents, will have to watch a video feed from an overflow courtroom.
Daley Thompson, 51, pleaded not guilty in May to all of the charges. He is set to stand trial less than six months after being indicted, an atypically short time between an indictment and a jury trial for a Chicago politician accused of wrongdoing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Daley Thompson is the grandson of former Mayor Richard J. Daley, and the nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Cook County Commissioner John Daley.
Shortly after calling in to the hearing before Valderrama, Daley Thompson questioned Chicago Department of Buildings Commissioner Matthew Beaudet as part of the ongoing hearings designed to scrutinize Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s 2022 budget proposal.
All participants in the trial, including the jury, will have to be tested regularly for COVID-19, Valderrama said.
Daley Thompson is the one of three sitting members of the Chicago City Council to be charged with federal crimes.
Ald. Ed Burke (14th Ward) has pleaded not guilty to 14 counts of corruption, and has been awaiting trial since his indictment in May 2019. Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward) was indicted on charges of bribery and lying to federal agents in August, and has also pleaded not guilty.
At his arraignment, Daley Thompson’s attorney Christopher Gair said the alderperson was eager to stand trial and clear his name.
“This is a very small tax case that the court will soon learn is simply a mistaken deduction taken as part of the tax preparation process,” Gair said during the alderperson’s May arraignment.
Document: Read the indictment The indictment alleges that between 2011-14, Daley Thompson, 51, “falsely represent[ed] on five years of income taxes that he paid interest on money he received from Washington Federal, even though he knew he did not pay interest in the amounts reported on the returns.”
Daley Thompson was elected to the City Council in 2015, and reelected to a second term in 2019. In 2012, he was elected to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, starting his career in politics. He is also an attorney with the firm of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella.
The indictment alleges Daley Thompson “received $219,000 from Chicago-based Washington Federal via a purported loan and other unsecured payments.”
Daley Thompson made one repayment on the loan but then stopped making payments, and he failed to pay interest on the funds he received, according to the indictment.
Washington Federal was shut down in 2017 by federal bank regulators after they determined it was insolvent. When the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency attempted to obtain repayment from Daley Thompson in 2018, he “falsely stated that he owed only $110,000 and that those funds were for home improvement, when Thompson knew he had actually received $219,000 and that $110,000 of it was paid by the bank to a law firm as Thompson’s capital contribution,” according to a statement from the Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
Ten other people, including several high-ranking former bank employees, have already been charged as part of the ongoing federal criminal investigation into the failure of Washington Federal.
The probe into Washington Federal was first revealed by the Chicago Sun-Times in a series of reports beginning in 2019.