Judge in Van Dyke case grills city lawyer on ‘transparency'

Jason Van Dyke

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan grilled a city lawyer Thursday, asking her whether a request she’s made concerning Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke’s murder case was consistent with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transparency policy, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Lisette Mojica, in her nine-page motion, asks Van Dyke’s attorneys and Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon not to disseminate any Chicago Police Department and Independent Police Review Authority emails and attachments that are irrelevant to the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

The city’s Office of Inspector General turned over 115,535 CPD emails and 124,655 IPRA emails without narrowing down the ones tied to the Van Dyke matter, the motion reads.

Many of those are protected by attorney-client privilege, are “work-protected material” and have nothing to do with the incident, according to the motion.

“I don’t mean to be facetious, but have you consulted with the mayor, because on June 3, 2016, Mayor Emanuel made a statement on transparency, the new policy of the City of Chicago,” Gaughan said.

“…I just want to make sure you’re not being inconsistent with the mayor’s statement.”

Mojica, an assistant city corporation counsel, responded: “Not at all, your honor.”

The judge then asked Mojica if she consulted with the mayor about how the motion might be “undermining” his transparency policy.

When Mojica started speaking again, Gaughan interrupted: “Please answer the question.”

Mojica said she did not consult with Emanuel personally.

Later Thursday, Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman with the city’s Law Department, said the motion was “absolutely in line” with the mayor’s transparency policy.

After Gaughan discussed transparency, he and the lawyers in the case went into his chambers, as they have in the past, for an “informal case management” conference.

They emerged nearly an hour later and then went on the record briefly to discuss pages of discovery materials that have been turned over.

Gaughan said he received, on Thursday, McDonald’s juvenile files — totaling some 8,200 pages.

Van Dyke’s attorneys have been twice denied the Illinois Department of Children of Family Service records by a Juvenile Court judge. They have since asked Gaughan to reconsider Judge Patricia Martin’s past decisions.

Gaughan said he will review the material and rule later on whether the records are relevant.

Van Dyke, 38, is expected back in court Jan. 10. He is accused of shooting 17-year-old McDonald 16 times in October 2014, but wasn’t charged until last year, after a harrowing video of the incident, filmed by a dashboard-mounted camera, was released, prompting protests across the country.