When we interrupted the description of McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi’s revision of his Federal court case against Special Prosecutor Thomas McQueen and Quest Consultants International, et al, we had just gotten to the unnamed “co-conspirators.”
That’s where we begin today.
Co-conspirators enter the picture here:
“Defendant McQueen, along with Defendant Quest Investigators, and other as yet unnamed co-conspirators, met and agreed, through explicit and/or implicit means, to
- manufacture and
evidence for the purpose of removing Bianchi from office by charging and prosecuting Bianchi and other SAO employees with criminal offenses, despite the lack of probable cause or credible evidence.”
McQueen’s personal involvement in the investigation is stressed, including his personal interviewing of individuals.
“Defendants McQueen and the Quest Investigators manufactured evidence and fabricated inculpatory witness statements against Bianchi and other SAO employees,” the filing says.
And, “at the direction and/or with the knowledge of Defendant McQueen, the Defendant Quest Investigators prepared reports that contained the false and manufactured evidence.”
A list of witnesses interviewed for which inaccurate reports were prepared follows:
- William Dennison
- Nichole Owens
- Mary McClellan
- Jamie Rein
McQueen is also said to have convinced Quest investigator Robert Scigalski to change reports.
Next, Ekl writes,
“After a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery, there likely will be evidentiary support that the false evidence manufactured during the investigation by Defendant McQueen and the Defendant Quest Investigators was done without Special Prosecutor Tonigan’s knowledge.”
Bianchi’s “political enemies” make another appearance in the text, “secretly obtaining information from Bianchi’s political enemies in furtherance of the conspiracy to violate Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights through the manufacture and falsification of evidence to arrest, indict, and prosecute Bianchi and other members of the SAO with crimes that they did not commit. Defendants McQueen and the Quest Investigators concealed their relationship and communications with these individuals until they were recently revealed through discovery obtained by Plaintiffs on May 23, 2012 in this instant case.”
Subsequently, the Grand Jury Judge Graham convened is examined, emphasizing the leadership role McQueen played in the investigation, but including false statements made to the Grand Jury by the Special Prosecutor and Quest investigator Scigalski.
The belief is expressed that “Tonigan did not know that the evidence was false and that Tonigan incorrectly believed that Defendants McQueen andScigalski were relating truthful information that they learned during their investigation.”
The September, 2010, indictment and arrest of Bianchi and his assistant Joyce Synek is the next topic covered.
The text intimates that McQueen “duped” Tonigan to bring charges.
It continues to emphasize the problems with the investigation.
And, the “co-conspirators” return:
“Despite the concerted efforts by the Defendants and other as yet unnamed co-conspirators,
Bianchi refused to resign and continued with his duties as State’s Attorney.”
Because “the first indictment failed to allege Bianchi committed an actual underlying crime,
which is required to charge official misconduct…Defendants McQueen and the Quest Investigators resumed their investigation for the purpose of fabricating evidence that Bianchi committed an underlying crime of ‘theft of labor, services, and use of property.’”
After an interview with McHenry County Administrator Peter Austin, the Special Prosecutors withheld the statement and “instead manufactured a false statement of Peter Austin for the purpose of creating the appearance that there was probable cause to charge Bianchi and Synek with conspiracy and official misconduct.”
From October through March, 2011, the filing claims that McQueen withheld evidence, including “evidence that a computer virus explained why certain documents could not be recovered from a computerrather than a deliberate act by Bianchi or Synek, [which] eviscerated the conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges….”
Again, thee is language to let Tonigan off the hook.
And the conclusion:
“…the withheld information would have additionally revealed gross investigative misconduct and perjured testimony before the grand jury, thereby exposing due process violations which would have led to the dismissal of Bianchi and Synek’s indictments prior to trial by the trial judge.”
Note the emphasis on the investigatory miscues.
Bianchi and Synek were found not guilty after a two-day bench trial by Judge Joseph McGraw.
The second trial and its investigation now take center stage:
“Shortly after obtaining the first indictment against Bianchi and Synek, Defendants McQueen and Scigalski began a second illegal and unauthorized investigation of Bianchi, and two of his employees, Plaintiffs Ronald J. Salgado and Michael J. McCleary. This investigation included interviewing witnesses about Bianchi’s handling of criminal cases, which clearly exceeded their authority under the orders signed by Judge Graham appointing Tonigan as a special prosecutor on September 18, 2009 and January 7, 2010.”
It is noted that McQueen incorrectly identified himself as a “Special State’s Attorney” in a petition to expand the investigation, although “Tonigan was the only individual legally appointed as a Special State’s Attorney and, pursuant to court order, Defendant McQueen was only appointed to ‘assist’ Tonigan.”
McQueen’s document is referred to as a “perjured petition.”
Still again, Ekl’s petition focuses on McQueen’s role in the investigationL
“McQueen continued to directly lead the second investigation by interviewing witnesses personally and directing the Quest investigators who to interview, what questions to ask, and what information to conceal.”
Again, the charge is made that McQueen and Quest employees had failed “to properly document exculpatory evidence.”
Seven examples are listed. (See Paragraph 84in the filing.)
Bianchi’s “political enemies” make another appearance in the motion:
“Defendants McQueen and the Quest Investigators continued to secretly obtain information from Bianchi’s political enemies, in furtherance of the conspiracy to violate the Plaintiffs’ rights by the manufacture and falsification of evidence to arrest, indict, and prosecute Bianchi and other members of the SAO with crimes that they did not commit.
“Defendants McQueen and the Quest Investigators also revealed confidential information to Bianchi’s political enemies during the course of their investigation.
“Defendants McQueen and the Quest Investigators concealed their relationship with these individuals until they were recently revealed through discovery on May 23, 2012 in the instant case.”
Complaints that were made about the investigation leading to the second indictment are reiterated as far as its presentation to that Grand Jury.
The following descriptions appear:
- “unsworn and false statements”
- “deliberating misled”
- “knowingly presented manufactured evidence”
The investigation and indictment of prcecss server Michael McCleary for using his county car for personal business follows.