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Jurors hear wiretapped conversations between former Ald. Ed Burke, government mole Danny Solis

Jurors hear former Ald. Burke on secret video from City Council mole
Jurors hear former Ald. Burke on secret video from City Council mole 02:52

CHICAGO (CBS) -- For the first time Tuesday, jurors in the trial of former Ald. Ed Burke (14th) heard secret recordings between the now-former alderman and government mole Danny Solis.

At the time, Solis was also a sitting member of the Chicago City Council, as alderman of the 25th Ward.

As CBS 2 Political Reporter Chris Tye reported, jurors on Tuesday saw video of undercover camera recordings between Burke and Solis. In federal prosecutors' efforts to catch a bigger fish, they found in Solis an agreeable alderman to flip — recording calls and in person meetings with Burke, then Chicago's most powerful alderman and longstanding chairman of the City Council Finance Committee.

Within 24 hours of the FBI knocking on his door inside his South Loop apartment with a warrant for his cellphone records — and laying out the federal case against him — Solis agreed to flip and wear a wire on Burke. He did so for over a year — essentially becoming a City Council mole.

In a video clip, Burke is seen and heard saying in his office, "Give Danny a call - I think he's going to be a main player in this whole process."

The 2016 video is shaky and does not catch Burke's every move. But his words were clear.

"I'm sitting here with Danny Solis," Burke says. "Are you hearing anything from the GC on the Post Office deal?"

On multiple occasions in person and on the phone, the two discussed money that could be made on from developers working on the Old Post Office — the building that straddles over the Eisenhower Expressway — which was located in Solis' 25th Ward.

This exchange is from a wiretap on Aug. 26, 2016: 

Burke: "While you're at, it recommend the good firm of Klafter & Burke to do the tax work (haha), and we can certainly work on a marketing arrangement for you.

Solis: "OK, well, let's sit down and talk about it."

This exchange followed in a face-to-face meeting one month later:

Burke: "If you get help from somebody to get some work, they're entitled to share in it, and it's just up to us to figure out a way that can be done so that there's no pitfalls legally. And this wouldn't be the first time, and won't be the last time. I'm a believer in sharing the load."

Solis: "I can see in Tim and Mike that you've really helped them out."

Burke: "Yes, they are an impressive father and son."

Solis: "They are Jewish."

Burke: "You took the words right out of my mouth."

Of the developer they were looking to work with, Burke said, "He's a gazillionaire - the guy he works for… the guy who owns the Knicks."

Secret recordings from informant Danny Solis played at former Ald. Ed Burke's trial 02:52

Burke's defense team countered prosecutors by describing to the jury Solis' behavior prior to his cooperation - which led to his charges being dropped.

"Did you investigate Mr. Solis to see If he obtained anything else personally?" Burke's attorney asked an FBI agent.

"Yes, he received cash, and maybe a couple of trips from developers," the agent said. "He did receive campaign contributions disguised as bribes."

Burke's defense team tried to poke holes in "ruses," or misinformation the FBI would have Solis feed to Burke, to elicit what his agenda really was. 

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall reminded jurors that such "ruses" are legal. One ruse that Solis pitched to Burke was that developers at the Old Post Office were going to hire Burke's law firm – when in reality, they never did.

The defense also argued that Solis is unreliable, because charges against him were dropped in exchange for his help against Burke.

What is unclear is if Solis himself will testify in Burke's trial. If he does, it would be several weeks down the line when the defense mounts their case.

The prosecution continues their case on the Old Post Office Wednesday morning.  

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