In a stunning turn of events, former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple counts of racketeering and bribery.
U.S. Attorney John Lausch, who announced the charges in downtown Chicago Wednesday afternoon, said the full indictment consists of 22 counts, including for bribery and racketeering, allegedly executed by Madigan and a web of co-conspirators.
Madigan, 79, has been one of the most influential politicians in Illinois for decades, holding the position of House Speaker since 1983 until he resigned last year following accusations of using his political status to solicit “personal financial rewards” for himself “while also generating income for his political allies and associates,” according to abc7chicago.
The 106-page indictment alleges Madigan and co-defendant Michael McClain (Madigan’s close friend) ran a criminal enterprise for “nearly a decade”, soliciting bribes and financial awards for him and his law practice, with McClain carrying out illegal activities at Madigan’s behest.
The charges make Madigan the most powerful politician in the state to be indicted, and comes as a major blow to the Democratic Party in Illinois. House Rep. Leader Jim Durkin called Madigan’s indictment possibly the “darkest day in Illinois history.”
Madigan has previously denied any wrongdoing and has vowed to fight the charges. However, if convicted, this would be the biggest political scandal in Illinois in decades, and could have major implications for the Democratic Party in the state.