Former Madigan chief of staff asks judge to toss parts of his perjury indictment
The former longtime chief of staff to then-House Speaker Michael Madigan wants a judge to toss part of his perjury indictment, arguing that key questions he fielded in front of a federal grand jury were ambiguous and that some of his allegedly false answers were "literally true."
The motion from Timothy Mapes’ attorneys also gives the slightest additional peek at what took place in front of the grand jury that was looking into Madigan. The former speaker has since been charged with a racketeering conspiracy.
Mapes’ attorneys filed their motion last week under seal "out of an abundance of caution." But prosecutors during a hearing Tuesday said there was no need to do so. U.S. District Judge John Lee ordered the document unsealed, and it became public Wednesday morning.
The document says Mapes spent "multiple hours" before the grand jury on March 31, 2021, fielding more than 650 questions from two federal prosecutors "concerning issues that were at least three years, or more, old." Along the way, prosecutors showed him an order from U.S. District Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer that granted him immunity, as well as a "memo" Mapes wrote to himself about a meeting he had with FBI agents in Springfield in 2019.
Prosecutors characterized it as an "interview" over coffee, according to the document.
But Mapes’ attorneys say prosecutors "did not otherwise attempt to refresh Mr. Mapes’ memory on any topic through showing him documents or other material."
The attorneys argued that certain questions posed to Mapes — to which he allegedly gave false answers — were ambiguous. In one lengthy question, a prosecutor asked, in part, whether Madigan confidant Michael McClain "acted as an agent for Mr. Madigan in any respect" or "took direction from Mr. Madigan."
Mapes replied, "I don’t know who you would go to other than Mr. Madigan and Mr. McClain. Mr. Madigan, if he had people do things for him like I did things for him, was — didn’t distribute information freely."
McClain also faces charges as a result of the feds’ probe, including in the indictment against Madigan.
Mapes’ lawyers complained that the words "agent" and "took direction from" in the feds’ question were vague. They also complained that the prosecutor "did not ask the obvious follow-up — what did Mr. Mapes mean when he said that he "did things for [Madigan]?"
"Instead, the prosecutor asked a series of questions about Mr. Madigan’s desire to keep a ‘close circle of information’ with confidants," the attorneys wrote. "Mr. Mapes confirmed his understanding of how Mr. Madigan shared information with others, including Mr. McClain: ‘Any discussions about private — private discussions with Mr. Madigan were always private between him and the other person in the room."
Mapes’ attorneys also said that Mapes gave "literally true" answers when he said "I don’t recall" in response to questions about whether McClain performed tasks for Madigan in 2017 or 2018, or whether he could remember anyone describing work or assignments McClain performed for Madigan.
"While the government may point to certain recordings in which Mr. McClain and Mr. Mapes talked after Mr. Mapes’ retirement in 2018, none of those recordings demonstrate that Mr. Mapes was lying on March 31, 2021, when he said he could not recall in response to vague questions about ‘tasks,’ ‘assignments,’ and ‘work’ from two to four years earlier."
Mapes served as Madigan’s chief of staff from 1991 until June 2018, when he was ousted amid a string of damning harassment allegations. Federal prosecutors then leveled perjury and attempted obstruction of justice charges against him in May 2021.