Chicago politican pleads guilty to taking bribes saying she didnt know it was illegal to take bribes


Is video on site

CBS2 News

Former Ald. Troutman Admits Taking Payoffs

Corruption Case Filed In 2007

CHICAGO (CBS) ― The number of Chicago aldermen and former aldermen convicted of corruption since 1980 has risen to 19. Former 20th ward Ald. Arenda Troutman was the latest; she pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court. CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports on her rise and fall.

Troutman walked into court then told the judge she had taken at least $10,000 in cash bribes from developers in exchange for zoning favors and she had failed to report the money on her income tax returns.

Just a year and a half ago, Troutman – surrounded by supporters – had proclaimed her innocence. “I have been an upstanding alderman for 17 years. I have fought on behalf of the people,” Troutman said last year.

Why the surprise decision to plead guilty? Her attorney told CBS 2 that, at first, she did not believe she’d committed a crime.

“As we got into the case and we dug through all the discovery, there became a scenario which we understood could be seen as illegal. Politics in chicago is a funny monster,” attorney Sam Adam Jr. said.

The Better Government Association saw Troutman’s decision a bit differently.

“Personally, if it were me, I would probably want to do the same thing. When they’ve got you dead to rights, it’s probably best to take the deal,” BGA Chief Investigator Dan Sprehe said.

Adam said Troutman “is relieved in one sense. We’ve gotten the hard part behind her. And that is to stand up and actually take responsibility for the things she agreed today that she had done.”

Realistically though, you might wonder if pleading guilty was the hard part of this. It might be doing the prison time. If U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo gets tough, Troutman’s bribe taking and tax fraud could result in five years behind bars.

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