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Closing their case, feds say ex-top aide to Madigan told ‘brazen’ and ‘preposterous’ lies to grand jury rather than being a ‘star witness’

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A federal prosecutor on Wednesday accused Michael Madigan’s longtime chief of staff of telling “brazen” and “preposterous” lies to a grand jury in 2021 rather than becoming the “star witness” the feds hoped he’d be in their aggressive probe of Illinois’ former House speaker.

Tim Mapes “decided he would stay in the foxhole,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Schwartz told a jury as closing arguments got underway in Mapes’ perjury trial. “And he would protect the boss. Something he had been doing for 25 years.”

Schwartz spent two hours walking jurors through the many lies Mapes allegedly told the grand jury on March 31, 2021, and the massive trove of FBI wiretap recordings that contradict Mapes’ testimony. 

She told jurors that “our system of justice depends on the integrity” of the grand jury process. 

“[Mapes] did not honor the oath he took, and he corrupted the truth-seeking mission of the grand jury,” Schwartz said. 

The trial broke for lunch after Schwartz finished her argument. When the trial resumes, Mapes’ attorneys are expected to deliver their final comments to the jury of six men and six women.

Mapes, who chose not to take the witness stand, will be the seventh person this year to have his fate placed in the hands of a jury as a result of public corruption work by the feds. 

He is accused of lying on seven specific occasions to the grand jury about work done for Madigan by fellow Springfield insider Michael McClain. 

McClain was convicted along with three others earlier this year for conspiring to bribe Madigan. He also faces trial in April with Madigan in a separate case in which they are each charged with a racketeering conspiracy.

However, Mapes also faces a broader attempted obstruction of justice count. And Schwartz said “this case is not just about those seven lies. They were lies, yes. But they were not the only lies that Mr. Mapes told in the grand jury room.”

Schwartz listed several reasons jurors could be confident Mapes lied about his knowledge of McClain’s work. Among them were his motive to protect Madigan and McClain, the fact that the questions he was asked dealt with a memorable time period in 2018, and the events that led up to Mapes’ appearance before the grand jury. 

Madigan forced Mapes to resign in June 2018 amid a #MeToo wave that swept over the Capitol and threatened Madigan’s grip on the speaker’s gavel. Both made it unlikely Mapes would forget what occurred at the time, Schwartz said. 

Then, Schwartz noted that news of the feds’ Madigan investigation first broke Jan. 29, 2019. That was the day the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Madigan had been recorded in 2014 along with then-Chicago Ald. Danny Solis, who later went on to become a secret government mole.

Mapes also had a meeting with FBI agents in Springfield in January 2019. Though it was unrelated to the investigation of Madigan, Mapes wound up telling Madigan attorney Sheldon Zenner about the encounter. Then, Mapes filled in McClain on a call recorded by the feds in February 2019.

Mapes told McClain on that call that he was “reporting in.”

Schwartz said it was widely known in Springfield that McClain did work for Madigan. She told the jury that was “Springfield 101 — Madigan 101.”

She also acted exasperated when revisiting Mapes’ claim to the grand jury that McClain wouldn’t have given him insight into McClain’s dealings with Madigan. 



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