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'Do we have the tuna?' At federal trial, Ex-Ald. Burke frustrated with potential client

'Do we have the tuna?' At federal trial, Ex-Ald. Burke frustrated with potential client
'Do we have the tuna?' At federal trial, Ex-Ald. Burke frustrated with potential client 02:31

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In the Ed Burke trial, jurors on Thursday heard him on tape frustrated, according to prosecutors, that lucrative tax work from the Old Post Office developers didn't happen quickly enough.

As CBS 2 Political Reporter Chris Tye reported, the morning started with a possible mistrial in the case.

Jurors are hearing the most frustrated Burke yet 02:59

Within the last hour, jurors are hearing the most frustrated Burke yet, secretly recorded by FBI mole and former Ald. Danny Solis (25th), as they talked about landing work for developer Harry Skydell.

Skydell was quarterbacking the $800 million project and needed Burke's help with Amtrak and the water department. 

But when Skydell didn't formally give Burke's firm law work, he pressed Solis who was serving as middle man.

"Do we have the tuna," Burke asked.

"Almost." Solis said. "I toId him we aren't very motivated."

Burke frames out Solis' profit participation by saying: "If we land the tuna, there will certain be a day of accounting. You can count on it."

As weeks turned to months back in 2017 and Burke still hadn't gotten the work promised him, he is seen and heard on tape saying: "Well, I'm not very, um, fond of the way they've conducted themselves up until this point, and as far as I'm concerned, they can go (expletive) themselves. Good luck getting it on the agenda."

The agenda he's talking about is the Finance Committee, of which Burke was the chairman, and whose pursestrings controlled tax help the Old Post Office developers wanted.

Speaking of things wanted, Burke's team ended Wednesday with a bombshell: a request for a mistrial.

Where does that stand?

The request was rejected. The trial moved on.

At issue was an Amtrak executive who used the word "corrupt" when talking about the Chicago way of doing business.

He was told by prosecutors not to use that word, but used it anyway.

The judge said it's not grounds for a mistrial, but she told the jury to disregard it. And she admonished the witness who hadn't yet been cross-examined.

The judge said the feds failed to remind him more recently not to use the word and the judge took some blame.

She said because of a lawyer on the case getting COVID they had to reshuffle the order these "schemes" are being presented. That forced prosecutors to move around witnesses and in this case not properly reminding them of words they cannot use.

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