CHICAGO (AP) — A retired Chicago police officer accused of making phone calls threatening to hurt investigators of an Illinois officer's fatal shooting unless they declared the death a suicide was released from jail Tuesday after posting bond, a sheriff's official and his lawyer said.
Joseph A. Battaglia, 54, was released hours after a morning hearing at which a judge declined a defense request for his $100,000 to be lowered; Lake County Sheriff's Office spokesman Chris Covelli confirmed Battaglia's release from jail Tuesday evening.
Battaglia's attorney, Myron Goldstin, told The Associated Press his client had put down the required $10,000 cash to secure his release.
Goldstin said he told Associate Judge Christen Bishop at the bond-review hearing that if his client ever made the alleged threatening statements it was "stupid and wrong." He is remorseful for even making a telephone call, Goldstin added.
Battaglia is accused of threatening a coroner and other investigators of the Sept. 1 shooting of Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, who had just radioed in that he was chasing three suspects. His death made national headlines and prompted a manhunt around Fox Lake, some 50 miles north of Chicago. The investigation is ongoing.
There's no indication Battaglia had any insight into the case beyond what has been reported by media.
A court clerk's office on Tuesday provided an unsealed probation officer's report to the AP. It noted Battaglia had no criminal history and recommended his bond be lowered. The report also said Battaglia indicated he had only $500 available for bond.
The report adds that Battaglia has no history of mental illness. It also said he is divorced and supports three teenage children on a police pension of $3,100 a month.
Battaglia was arrested at his suburban Oak Lawn home Saturday on charges of felony disorderly conduct. He is accused of threatening Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd and the head of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, George Filenko, among others.
Rudd said last week he hadn't ruled out homicide, an accident or suicide in Gliniewicz's death, telling reporters a "devastating" gunshot killed the officer. Filenko responded by lashing out at the coroner, accusing him of jeopardizing the investigation by publicly discussing details of the officer's wounds.
A conviction on a charge of felony disorderly conduct carries a maximum penalty of three years in state prison, Goldstin said. Battaglia's next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 6.
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