Nicholas Hurtgen to be Allowed to Withdraw Guilty Pleas, But Will Face Attempted Extortion Count Again

Masthead of the Wisconsin political blog where I found this story.

Why do I have to go to Wisconsin to find out what is happening in Chicago?

OK. There won’t be a lot of political news out of Chicago for the near future except about who is going to run for mayor now that Rich Daley has decided to step down.

But wouldn’t you think one of the reporters at the Federal Building would notice that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has agreed with Nick Hurtgren’s attorneys that the guilty plea on the counts concerning the now held unconstitutional “honest services” statute can be withdrawn?

Although Hutrgen was pleading guilty to misdoings in connection with Naperville’s Edward Hospital Certificate of Need attempt, lurking in the background are connections to the Crystal Lake Mercy Hospital licensing scandal.

To put in the words of the December 12, 2007, press release about that day’s indictment of Hultgen:

“Kiferbaum also had agreed to pay Levine a substantial kickback in return for Levine’s role in securing a Certificate of Need from the Planning Board to construct a new hospital in Crystal Lake, Ill., which Kiferbaum had been hired to build…”

Financing by Bear Stearns, of which Hurtgen was a Chicago managing director, figured into the deal to have Mercy hire Kiferbaum Construction, which was supposed to give Levine a kickback. Jacob Kiferbaum flipped, as did another Levine associate John Glennon.

According to the Wisconsin political blog “Political Capital,” although the Feds agree to let him withdraw from that part of his plea agreement, “the attempted extortion count will be reinstated.”

So, the case that was supposed to go to trial November 2, 2008, and in which Hurtgen cut a deal in February of 2009 is back to “let’s set a trial date” stage.

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