Illinois state senator Emil Jones III was charged with bribery, claiming he took money from a red light company to kill laws requiring traffic testing for automatic camera systems, and then lied to federal agents about it.
Jones, 44, was indicted on Tuesday in a criminal report of bribing and lying to the FBI. The date of the indictment has not been set. Defendants accused on the basis of criminal information, not a jury indictment, usually intend to plead guilty.
Jones, son of former Illinois Senate president Emil Jones Jr., is the last politician to be charged in an extensive federal investigation that opened wide in 2019 when agents raided the offices of then-state senator Martin Sandoval, who at the time was the head of the powerful state senate transportation commission.
Jones III, a Far South Side Democrat, has served on the state senate since 2009 and is a member of the same transportation committee. He did not immediately return the message asking for a comment on Tuesday.
The Jones indictment is the latest in a SafeSpeed LLC red light camera case that generates millions of dollars in fines each year from drivers in nearly twenty Chicago suburbs.
Earlier this year, former mayor of Oakbrook Terrace, Tony Ragucci, pleaded guilty to participating in a bribe program in which the company had ties to the mafia businessman and his stepchildren who allegedly donated thousands of cash to the mayor in return for a portion of the suburban ticket revenue.
As with Jones, the federal government accused Ragucci of despicable contacts with co-founder and then-director of SafeSpeed Omar Maani in exchange for renewing the company’s annual contract with Oak Brook Terrace. But Maani, a few years ago, began secretly working with federal investigators on this vast case, which also involved the late Sandoval, Crestwood mayor Louis Presta, and several longtime democratic political agents.
In April, Presta was sentenced to one year in federal prison after he was caught on a secret FBI video he believed taking a $ 5,000 bribe from Maani.
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When Senate President Emil Jones Jr. announced his retirement in 2008, and defended his son’s eligibility for a Senate post from which the elder Jones resigned. The long-time chairman of the Senate referred to the traditions of political dynasties in which relatives help loved ones get big jobs.
“I remember John F. Kennedy, the president of the United States, when he became president, he recommended his brother. Normal? And his brother was elected, ”said older Jones, clearly referring to Ted Kennedy who followed his brother into the Senate, where he served for decades.
“Mayor Richard M. Daley fathered … Richard J. Daley,” the elder Jones added, inadvertently reversing the order in which the Daleyas served as mayor.
During this time, Jones also mentioned the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Michael J. Madigan, who helped his daughter become a state senator and then spent four terms as Illinois Attorney General. The former speaker is currently charged with 22 counts, including extortion and racketeering.
The day after the raids on Sandoval’s offices and home, Democratic leaders did not immediately remove him from the transport committee, commented on by Jones III.
“You are innocent until proven guilty,” he said. “But I think, given what the investigation is about, (Sandoval) should step down temporarily.”
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