This morning in Rockford’s Winnebago County Courthouse, lawyers showed up for both Special Prosecutor Thomas McQueen and the Quest investigators.
They were there to fend off contempt of court charges bought by McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi.
Judge Joseph McGraw was under the impression that the contempt was “direct,” that is, it had occurred in his courtroom, but Terry Ekl, Bianchi’s attorney, explained that “some occurred outside of the courtroom, so we have labeled it ‘indirect contempt.’”
Ekl did point out that “false testimony would have been directly in front of you.”
Roger Weber, a lawyer whom I heard was representing Quest employees Robert Scigalski and Patrick Hanretty, asked for a substitution of judges.
McQueen’s attorney Matt Henderson also asked that another jurist be substituted for Judge Joesph McGraw.
McGraw tried the two criminal trials prosecuted and lost by McQueen and Henry Tonigan without even hearing a defense by Ekl having been offered.
Judge McGraw took the two motions under advisement, although he said the following about Weber’s motion, which was based on a rule numbered 114.5:
“I do not believe that this applies to criminal contempt.
“I’ve encountered this in another context.”
Bianchi attorney Ekl said that he did not acknowledge that they are entitled to the statutory procedural rights under the criminal code, but they are entitled to due process rights.
After setting up the briefing schedule, Judge McGraw asked, “Who’s to prosecute it?”
He wondered whether it would be “the State’s Attorney or a private party.”
“With your Honor’s permission, I’ll be happy to prosecute it,” Ekl replied.
Both Joyce Synek and Mike McCleary, both indicted but not convicted by McQueen and Tonigan, were in the courtroom.