4 plead not guilty in ComEd bribery probe

A close confidant of House Speaker Michael Madigan and three others pleaded not guilty in federal court Wednesday, two weeks after a grand jury accused them of a bribery scheme designed to curry favor with the Southwest Side Democrat, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Lobbyist Michael McClain, onetime ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, ex-ComEd vice president John Hooker and former City Club President Jay Doherty all appeared by video before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber.

The 50-page indictment filed last month does not accuse Madigan of a crime. But in the time since its filing, several House Democrats have said they won’t vote for Madigan to keep the speaker’s gavel, the Sun-Times reported.

RELATED: House Speaker Madigan releases statement saying he plans to be a candidate for re-election in January

Madigan has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, insisting that “helping people find jobs is not a crime.”

The indictment alleged payments totaling more than $2 million between 2014 and 2019 were made to Doherty’s firm, Jay D. Doherty & Associates. Then, it said Doherty made $256,000 in payments to an unnamed individual identified by the Chicago Sun-Times as former Ald. Frank Olivo, $325,000 in payments to a second unnamed individual, and $144,000 in payments to a third.