Madigan waives right to appear for AT&T arraignment, pleads not guilty

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - Longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan will not appear for his arraignment on a conspiracy charge related to a corruption scheme with AT&T.

Madigan was scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 1, but his attorneys filed a motion Tuesday to waive his right to appear for the arraignment. Federal Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole approved Madigan’s request Wednesday afternoon.

Madigan said he has received a copy of the superseding indictment and understands the maximum penalties that he could face if convicted. The powerful Democrat pled not guilty to every charge included in the superseding indictment.

A federal grand jury in Chicago charged Madigan on Oct. 14 with corruptly arranging for payments to be made to one of his political allies as part of an alleged conspiracy with Illinois Bell Telephone Company.

Meanwhile, Quincy lobbyist and Madigan confidant Mike McClain is still scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 1.

The superseding indictment alleges that Madigan and Quincy native McClain worked with former AT&T Illinois President Paul La Shiazza to arrange for a $22,500 payment to a Madigan ally in 2017. The utility company allegedly made the payments through a lobbying firm that worked on behalf of AT&T Illinois, in order to conceal the true nature of the payments. Federal prosecutors said AT&T was trying to influence and reward the longtime speaker in order to receive favorable legislation in Springfield. While Madigan, McClain, and La Shiazza arranged a job for the speaker’s ally while he was being paid, prosecutors note that the individual, former Rep. Eddie Acevedo, did no work for AT&T Illinois and had no role in helping move the legislation in question.

La Shiazza is charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of corruptly giving something of value to reward a public official, and three counts of using a facility in interstate commerce to promote unlawful activity. The former utility president pled not guilty to those charges last week.

Madigan and McClain were previously charged with several counts of leading a criminal enterprise to enhance the political power and financial well-being of the speaker and allies following a multiple year-long investigation into a bribery scheme with Commonwealth Edison. McClain is facing fewer charges, but will also face a significant amount of jail time if the maximum penalty is pursued. He could face approximately 75 years in prison and also a large amount of money, depending on how much was made in the conspiracy. Both men pled not guilty to the charges on March 9, 2022.

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