CHICAGO (CBS) — A jury has begun deliberations in the criminal tax trial of Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th), the first Chicago alderman to face a federal trial in more than two decades.
The jury began deliberating early Monday afternoon, after prosecutors and defense attorneys presented their closing arguments in the case.
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Prosecutors say Thompson lied to the feds about money he borrowed from the now-defunct Washington Federal Bank in Bridgeport. He’s also accused of thinking he could get away with those alleged lies after the president of the bank that gave him the money killed himself. His attorneys chalk it up to inadvertent mistakes.
When it comes to his federal trial, there are a lot of firsts for Thompson, who is former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew and Richard J. Daley’s grandson. The 54-year-old Thompson is the first member of the Daley family to face federal charges, and also the first Chicago alderman to go to trial in decades.
In his case, federal prosecutors said Thompson borrowed $219,000 from the now-defunct Washington Federal Bank in Bridgeport. They allege Thompson only made one payment and paid no interest, even though he reported interest payments on his income taxes. The feds said Thompson then lied to the FDIC about how much he borrowed.
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Right after the April, 2021 indictment came down, Thompson said he was innocent and that he didn’t commit a crime. During opening statements in his trial on Tuesday, defense attorney Chris Gair blamed the matter on a tax preparation oversight and Thompson’s hectic life.
“He’s frazzled. He’s bitten off more than he can chew,” Gair told jurors about why the alderman didn’t remember the amount borrowed. And when federal regulators interviewed Thompson, Gair said, “instead of correcting him, instead of refreshing his memory, they were setting him up. I wonder why?”
Prosecutors also questioned a former bank worker who was also indicted, and plead guilty, to having a role in helping the bank’s former president John Gembara and others embezzle millions. She testified to several meetings between Thompson and Gembara, in addition to Gembara giving one sum of money.
More than a dozen people have been indicted in connection with the failed bank.
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Thompson faces five counts of filing a false income tax return, and two counts of false statements to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp regarding $219,000 in loans and other payments he received from Washington Federal Bank for Savings. The false statements charges each carry a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, while the tax charges each carry a sentence of up to 3 years behind bars.