Arising out of the two criminal prosecutions of McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi for official misconduct, among other charges, was a motion by Bianchi to hold Special Prosecutor Thomas McQueen in indirect criminal contempt of court.
Prosecuted by Bianchi defense attorney Terry Ekl, the case went to trial in Winnebago County Chief Judge Joseph McGraw’s Rockford courtroom.
Ekl put on his case, pointing to numerous instances in which McQueen and his colleague Henry “Skip” Tonigan did not provide all documents requested during the discovery phase of the trial.
One was an email memo concerning allegations raised by then-First Assistant State’s Attorney Tom Carroll.
It started with an opinion of Carroll saying that when one asked Carroll for the time, he build a clock.
McQueen’s defense attorney Matt Henderson argued that memo was “work product” of the investigator, which was exempt from the discovery process under a Illinois Supreme Court rule.
Ekl countered that the one sentence could have been redacted (blanked out) and the rest of the email provided to Bianchi’s defense team.
Henderson said it was a strategic decision to withhold the email.
Further argued was that emails were not included in Judge McGraw’s production order.
Most of the evidence Ekl said was improperly withheld concerned emails found during discovery in a related Federal Court civil case.
15,000 pages were turned over in the Federal case.
McQueen’s defense included the lack of proof that McQueen even got the emails.
Robert Scigalski, a witness for the prosecution, repeated said that he did not know if McQueen got information he emailed or delivered in person to Tonigan’s Barrington-area office, where documents were kept.
The defense also argued that the lack of the turnover of the documents did not affect Bianchi’s acquittal.
The case continues Thursday with McQueen scheduled to be on the witness stand in his own defense.
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The Northwest Herald had a reporter in the courtroom. Her article will undoubtedly add other details.