Watch CBS News

Harry Leinenweber, renowned Chicago federal judge, dies at 87

CBS News Live
CBS News Chicago Live

CHICAGO (CBS) -- U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber, who served as a judge in the Northern District of Illinois for nearly 40 years, died Tuesday night at the age of 87.

Leinenweber was nominated by President Ronald Reagan and appointed to the court in 1985, and assumed senior status in 2002. He kept up an active caseload until the end of his life.

"Judge Harry D. Leinenweber was a friend, mentor, and model jurist. My colleagues and I are deeply saddened by Judge Leinenweber's passing," Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said in a news release. "We hope for comfort and peace for his family. We thank his family for sharing him with us for over 39 years."

U.S. District Court

Among the recent high-profile cases over which Leinenweber presided was R. Kelly's federal criminal trial last year. Leinenweber sentenced Kelly to 20 years in prison for enticing minors into sexual activity.

Leinenweber also presided over the trial last year of four ex-ComEd officials—Michael McClaine, Anne Pramaggiore, Jay Doherty, and John Hooker—who were all convicted of in a conspiracy to bribe then-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Just this past March, it was also Leinenweber who ordered $1.5 million in back pay for former employees of the Signature Room atop the former John Hancock Center, ruling the owners of the iconic restaurant and lounge failed to give workers proper notice when the business abruptly closed in September.

Leinenweber was born in 1937 in Joliet. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1959, and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1962.

He also served as a Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives from 1973 until 1983.

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.