The September 18th hearing before Kane County Judge Kevin Busch resulted in the case being set over until February 19, 2021–five months from now.
The Judge learned at the hearing that the Illinois Supreme Court had decided not to consider the appeal the Illinois Integrity Fund, Jack Franks, et al, attorney Natalie Harris had made.
The the transcript of what the Judge said gets interesting:
So my feeling is, Mr. Prossnitz, all along, is that time doesn’t hurt your case; that your case is sort of — almost like a criminal case in some ways or — it’s historical in nature, it’s pretty well documented, everybody is aware of what the publications are, and the only question is, is who’s behind them and that’s the part you want to drag out as quickly as possible.
Understand it’s not lost on this court that we are in the 11th hour of an election cycle and, driving up, it couldn’t help but notice signs in the ground with Mr. Franks’ name.
I am not interested in the local politics of McHenry County, but I’m not interested in having this case be a part of it.
I am interested in knowing what the appellate court is going to say as it
relates to the contempt finding.
If you and I are right, then Mr. Franks is going to owe some money.
If Miss Harris is right, then he is not.
And then this case starts to turn one way or another based on whether or not they are obligated to make these disclosures and I think that’s a very
critical issue at this point in time.
Joe Tirio’s attorney Phil Prossnitz disagreed with delaying the forcing of Jack Franks to reveal the information ordered by Judge Busch.
There are three provisions that are up on appeal and they seem to be moot and academic, and the three issues are
- whether he should be held in contempt,
- whether he should be able to purge himself, and
- whether the per diem is reasonable. T
Those seem to be minor consequential issues unrelated to the fact that this trial court said answer.
The appellate court said the trial court was right, answer.
Why do we have to wait?
That I think is where we find ourselves and there might be — again, there’s some hesitancy about it because of the First Amendment, and Franks has very successfully wrapped himself in that issue; but, again, there is now
– a trial court,
– appellate court and
– now the Supreme Court
also sensitive to those issues, also sensitive to all of the issues raised by Franks as to whether or not this is defamatory or if it’s protected speech, and they all are saying that Tirio’s complaint is a well pled defamatory per se complaint.
We should proceed with discovery.
Prossnitz then asked for a hearing at the end of October.
Franks attorney Natalie Harris replied to Prossniz’ arguments, after which Judge Busch said, in part,
I appreciate your argument, Mr. Prossnitz, but I disagree with you and I’ve already indicated why.
I have no intention to want to get embroiled in the theater that I’m sure your client would love to engage in, in three weeks, having Mr. Franks perp walked into the jail because it’s election season…
So as far as I am concerned, I’m willing to continue this into February because I think we won’t know anything more until then