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McClain and three others indicted in ComEd bribery scheme plead not guilty

Chicago - WBEZ Mike McClain - 01102020

CHICAGO (WGEM) -- All four individuals who were indicted in November in a Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) bribery scheme pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.

The indictment names former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former executive John Hooker, lobbyist Jay Doherty, and former Quincy lawmaker and lobbyist Mike McClain.

Each of the individuals is charged with bribery conspiracy, bribery, and willfully falsifying ComEd and Exelon books, records, and accounts.

All four will appear for a status hearing on February 16 and pretrial motions on March 3.

The charges issued on November 18 came four months after ComEd signed a deferred prosecution agreement for information about a bribery scheme in the Illinois statehouse.

Mike McClain

Reports have long connected McClain, a former Quincy lawmaker, lobbyist, and close confidant of House Speaker Mike Madigan, to the ComEd investigation.

According to a November 2019 report by the Chicago Tribune, McClain was wiretapped by federal agents as part of the ComEd probe.

The Tribune had also reported in July of 2019 that the FBI had raided McClain's Quincy home in mid-May of last year.

The newspaper reported that the raid took place around the same time that the FBI executed search warrants at the homes of Chicago Alderman Michael Zalewski and political operative Kevin Quinn, both of whom were associates of Madigan.

Other McClain investigation

McClain is also at the center of an investigation into his involvement of an alleged rape cover-up, after an email he wrote surfaced during the ComEd investigation earlier this year.

In the email, McClain asked for leniency in regards to discipline for Quincy resident Forrest Ashby, who was working at a Department of Human Services facility for inmates in Rushville, Illinois.

McClain wrote that Ashby, "...is a good compliance person, as I told you... He has kept his mouth shut on Jones' ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other items. He is loyal to the administration."

The email was between McClain and then-Governor Quinn's former Legislative Affairs Liasion, Gary Hannig.

The Chief Legal Counsel from the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board said that Forrest Ashby's contract was suspended after reports surfaced that Ashby helped cover up a rape and kept quiet about ghost jobs in the state.

Gov. Pritzker addressed the rape cover-up allegations in January saying that a full investigation was needed.

"We need to do an investigation and find out what the real facts are and then we have to hold those accountable who are responsible for perpetrating either the crime, the cover up or the threats associated in that email."

Gov. J.B. Pritzker - (D) Illinois

Read the indictment below:

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Jim Roberts

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