Cook County prosecutor accused of lying under oath, fired

FOX 32's Dane Placko contributed to this report.

CHICAGO (AP) - A Cook County prosecutor has been fired amid allegations that he lied in a case involving the wounding of a Chicago police officer, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Monday.

The prosecutor, Joseph Lattanzio, is accused of giving false testimony last month in the case of a man charged with shooting Officer Del Pearson during a foot chase in 2012. Authorities say Lattanzio's testimony raises the possibility that the case against Paris Sadler could be tossed out.

Alvarez said she was "appalled, livid and outraged" by the 12-year prosecutor's actions and said she had referred the matter to the Illinois attorney general's office for possible criminal prosecution.

"This is a line that will not be crossed," Alvarez said. "Based upon these recordings, we believe this assistant state's attorney was not truthful during his testimony about the witness interview."

The developments came after Sadler's attorneys disclosed the existence of a 3-year-old recording made surreptitiously by Sadler's mother while prosecutors questioned her after the shooting.

Talaina Cureton testified at a previous court hearing that she told Lattanzio she had asked to speak to an attorney when officers first asked to enter her home shortly after Pearson's shooting. But when she turned to get her phone, the officers entered uninvited to question her son, she said.

A gun allegedly used in the shooting of Pearson was found in Cureton's home.

Lattanzio testified he took only one statement from Cureton, did not make any corrections to the statement she signed and said that she never asked to speak to an attorney. But Cureton contends corrections were made.

Lattanzio's lawyer, David O'Connor, blamed Lattanzio's faulty memory for his testimony.

"They're asking him his recollection of events that happened 3 ½ years ago," he told the Chicago Tribune.

O'Connor said his client was suspended after the recording was disclosed last month and he submitted his resignation late Sunday, before he was fired Monday.

At a hearing Monday, prosecutors asked Judge Thaddeus Wilson to strike Lattanzio's testimony from the record. The judge refused, saying he will allow defense attorneys to reopen a hearing on whether the arrest of Sadler in Pearson's shooting should be thrown out.

"Our motion says that there was a search of our client's home and that there was not lawful consent to conduct that search," said Cook County public defender Amy Campanelli.

Pearson was responding to a call of a "juvenile disturbance" when he reportedly saw Sadler clutch his waistband, a possible sign he was carrying a gun, according to prosecutors. When Sadler ran, Pearson gave chase. Sadler allegedly fired two shots at Pearson, striking him in the chest. Pearson has recovered and is back on duty.

"As I stand here today, there's been no allegations of him testifying falsely in any other case or any other misconduct in other cases. But we are looking at all the cases he has handled," Alvarez said.