Flannery Fired Up previews ComEd trial and secret FBI recordings

The "ComEd Four" jury has wrapped for the weekend and will resume deliberations Monday.

The trial has provided an unprecedented look inside the way utility consumers get slapped with big rate hikes.

It's one topic that will be discussed on Flannery Fired Up Friday night, and Political Editor Mike Flannery has a preview.

Two veteran journalists will discuss the FBI's "stunning" secret recordings of ComEd executives and top Springfield politicians.  

More than 140 video and audio clips have been played for the jury.

"The power of the evidence that the government has had here with these recordings is quite stunning. Because you hear these people talking freely, not knowing they're being recorded," said WBEZ politics reporter Dave McKinney.

The secretly-made recordings capture ComEd lobbyists and executives and former House Speaker Mike Madigan and his inner circle discussing jobs, big and small, at the giant utility. 


Defense lawyers say none of it violated any law. But prosecutors call it $1.3 million worth of bribery in exchange for electricity rate hikes.

"There were rumors about, about why all this was happening. But to see it all play out like this and to, sort of, have those questions answered, I guess in some respects it's been a little bit rewarding," said Steve Daniels of Crain's Chicago Business.

Jurors must ultimately decide whether crimes were committed, but there's no doubt consumers have been hit by soaring bills for electricity and natural gas. 

"Bills are getting out of hand. And they're only going to get more out of hand unless something changes," said Daniels.

Madigan faces related corruption charges. His trial is currently scheduled to begin one year from this month.  That and more — coming up on Flannery Fired Up at 9:30 p.m.