Watch CBS News

Juror dismissed from corruption trial of former Ald. Ed Burke due to illness

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There was a shakeup with the jury hearing the corruption case against former Chicago Ald. Ed Burke on Monday, as testimony continued in his federal trial.

One of the jurors was removed from the case Monday morning, due to an illness. One of the alternates will replace her on the panel of 12 jurors who will ultimately hand down a verdict.

Another juror informed the judge on Monday that their priest talked with them about the trial over the weekend, but she cut off the conversation right away, and both prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed to keep her on the jury.

A recurring theme from the prosecution during the trial has been accusations Burke tried to get paid for political favors, while the defense has argued he never got paid. That theme continued on Monday.

Defense attorneys have argued if Burke didn't profit from any political favors involved in the case, so how can that amount to extortion or racketeering. But when someone is charged with attempted extortion, that changes the threshold.

Another recurring theme during the trial has been government witnesses who were seeking Burke's help with city business telling jurors that the former alderman operated in a way they had never been asked to operate by any other politician in the country.

An executive for a company that owns several Burger King restaurants in Chicago, including one that was seeking Burke's help with permits for a renovation project at one of their stores, said working with Burke felt like a shakedown.

Burke saw a familiar face in the courtroom on Monday, as former Ald. Tom Tunney attended the trial in a show of support for his former colleague. Tunney said he might attend the trial from time to time.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.