Bianchi Preliminaries Over, Trial To Begin March 21st

A friend of McHenry County Blog was in the courtroom yesterday and provided the basis for this article.

The preliminaries are over in the trial of McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi.

Terry Ekl

His attorney, Terry Ekl, argued for dismissal Wednesday. Judge Joseph McGraw said he would render a decision quickly.

The trial starts March 21st for the first charges and June 27 was set for the second round.

During the hearing the defense suggested there was some questionable behavior by Special Prosecutors Henry Tonigan and Thomas McQueen.

As a result the judge allowed Ekl to have the colloquy of the secret grand jury. That is the transcript of the spoken word of the prosecution and it is sealed from the view of other eyes.

Ekl claimed abuse of the grand jury process by the special prosecutors.

The grand jury is a procedure in which the prosecution has total control. Neither the defendant nor his lawyer attend. It is a one-sided situation in which witnesses are sworn in.

Ekl claimed that the special prosecutors

  • were unsworn witnesses making statements without evidence to back it up
  • made up facts and evidence to give to the Grand Jury
  • gave information when there was not testimony to back it up

It is up to the Grand Jury to see documents and hear the sworn testimony and make decisions.

Ekl said that there were gross misstatements regarding the law when the Special Prosecutors were addressing the Grand Jury.

As one example, he pointed to an investigator named Stilling, who claimed that County Administrator Pete Austin said that he was the only person that could authorize non-county use of computers.

County rules state that any elected county official can give such permission, as long as it is not interfering with county work or abusive. Stilling had no notes nor did he write any report on his interviews. He works for Quest.

Special Prosecutor Thomas McQueen claimed that the grand jury only has to find probable cause.

After the hearing, First Electric Newspaper asked Ekl who was paying his legal fees. Ekl’s reply:

“No county money will be spent to pay me. My client (Bianchi) pays me.”

First Electric Newpaper’s story on the hearing is here.

About 30 supporters of Bianchi attended the hearing.


Bianchi Preliminaries Over, Trial To Begin March 21st — 1 Comment

  1. It is interesting to note Lou Bianchi’s attorney is crying “foul” while whining about the abuse of power of the Special Prosecutors. Lou Bianchi’s office has, for years, used the privacy of the Grand Jury to prosecute cases which had no evidence for indictment save the testimony of a prosecutor telling them what the “facts” were in any case. Unfortunately for Mr Bianchi the sword cuts both ways.

    If it is wrong for the Special Prosecutors to state the facts of a case to a Grand Jury then it is wrong for Mr. Bianchi to do so. If it is abuse of power for the Special Prosecutor to distort or omit facts of a case before a Grand Jury to gain a spurious indictment then it is abuse of power for Mr. Bianchi to do so. Mr. Bianchi is attempting to twist the law to only fit his own defense with no regard for the dozens of good men and women he has abused similarly throughout his term as State’s Attorney.

    Unfortunately for Mr. Bianchi, if his defense wins by using these arguments, he then loses his ability to defend his own actions as State’s Attorney in federal court. Should this be the case McHenry County will find itself sued by every person abused by Mr. Bianchi in his entire term and will be opened to millions of dollars in damages. Please take a plea and step aside Mr. Bianchi… For the good of the people and finances of McHenry County recognize your own culpability and complicity in your extortion of the people you have railroaded. Please quietly retire to your mansion in Florida. We tire of your self serving lack of introspection. Pray about this and then retire with the honor you have left.

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