Can’t bring you the indictment(s) that was announced at a press conference that Special Prosecutor did not notify me of, but I can show you the statement that was released by McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi’s attorney Terry A. Ekl:
In September of 2009 Henry Tongian was appointed as a special prosecutor to investigate allegations made by a former employee of the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s office who claimed that she had done “political” work while working for the county.
This employee was charged with having stolen thousands of sensitive documents while working with the political opponent of Mr. Bianchi in his re-election bid as the State’s Attorney of McHenry County.
Mr. Tonigan was appointed solely to investigate the claim of the former employee who had left the employment of the State’s Attorney’s Office in June of 2006.
Without any notification to McHenry County, which was required to pay the costs of the special prosecutor services, Mr. Tonigan expanded the scope of his investigation of Mr. Bianchi to encompass at least a six (6) year time period and purported to allow him to investigate any “political activity” engaged in by any office employee for that time period.
The costs of this investigation had reached a figure of in excess of $200,000 as of August of 2010. For some unexplainable reason no bills for the services of the special prosecutor or anyone working with him have been submitted for work done for the past seven (7) months.
It is fair to conclude that the cost of the special prosecutor investigation has clearly exceeded $500,000 at this point.
Presently, the taxpayers of McHenry County have had no input in determining whether the bills relating to this witch hunt have been reasonable.
The expansion of the authority of the special prosecutors was accomplished in an ex parte manner between the special prosecutors and Judge Gordon Graham.
For over one and one-half years these special prosecutors have been literally looking under rocks trying to find something they could ask the grand jury to indict Mr. Bianchi on.
They have interviewed and presented before the grand jury every person they could locate who dislikes Bianchi or has a political ax to grind against him.
In doing so they have exceeded the scope of authority provided to them as special prosecutors.
It is important to note that, unlike an elected State’s Attorney, special prosecutors are private attorneys who do not have general authority to investigate crimes.
Their authority is limited to a specific matter.
In September of 2010 Mr. Bianchi was indicted on the case which is scheduled to go to trial on March 21, 2011.
As in all cases, the grand jury process is ex parte and no representative of the target of the investigation is allowed to be present.
A motion to dismiss this indictment is currently pending which is based upon the gross and outrageous misconduct of the special prosecutors before the grand jury which returned this indictment.
This motion is based upon the special prosecutors repeatedly making false and unsworn statements of fact before the grand jury, making false statements as to the law to the grand jury and presenting testimony which they knew to be false. In essence the presentation of the current case to the grand jury was a sham.
The same grand jurors subjected to the improper conduct of the special prosecutors in the pending case returned this indictment today.
Mr. Bianchi has engaged in no wrongful, improper or criminal conduct at any time.
At all times he has exercised the discretion given to him as the elected State’s Attorney of McHenry County appropriately.
No credible evidence exists that he has ever exercised his discretion improperly.
Mr. Bianchi will be found not guilty on the initial indictment scheduled for trial on March 21, 2011 and we will then prepare for trial on this current baseless sham of an indictment which has been returned at the request of special prosecutors who are not concerned with justice or fairness but rather lining their pockets with taxpayer money.
The actions of these special prosecutors in seeking the indictment of an elected State’s Attorney because they disagree with his exercise of discretion should give pause to prosecutors everywhere who may at some point be faced with a similar malicious abuse of power.