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After being acquitted twice, McHenry state’s attorney seeks new term

Louis Bianchi   who is charged with ordering employees do political work for him county time leaves for lunch

Louis Bianchi , who is charged with ordering employees to do political work for him on county time, leaves for lunch break at McHenry Courthouse on March 23, 2011 in Woodstock, Illinois. Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: November 16, 2011 1:25AM

After being acquitted twice this year of felony misconduct charges, McHenry County State’s Attorney Louis Bianchi is seeking a third term in office.

The 68-year-old Republican announced that he would run again next year at his annual fundraiser, saying he is eager to continue serving as the county’s top prosecutor.

“I’m excited about the office, I’ve got the energy to keep going,” Bianchi said Friday. “We’ve made such significant strides in the community to keep it safe and secure.”

First elected in 2004, Bianchi was re-elected in 2008, but legal problems soon dogged him.

When a former employee claimed that she did political work for Bianchi on county time, special prosecutors Henry Tonigan and Thomas McQueen were appointed to probe those allegations.

That investigation resulted in Bianchi being indicted in 2010 on charges he ordered employees to perform political tasks for him. A second indictment followed earlier this year, alleging he gave special treatment to criminal cases involving political supporters and friends.

But those allegations crumbled when Bianchi stood trial in March and again earlier this month

In each trial, the special prosecutors offered so little evidence that Winnebago County Judge Joseph McGraw — appointed to hear the politically charged cases — acquitted Bianchi before he even presented his defense.

Bianchi said his decision to seek a third term wasn’t prompted by a desire to boost his image following his legal struggles.

“The satisfaction is already there. I’ve been vindicated,” Bianchi said.

The acquittals only bolstered Bianchi’s reputation and popularity, said County Board Chairman Ken Koehler, who introduced Bianchi at Thursday’s fund-raiser.

“Everybody believes he’s a man with impeccable integrity,” said Koehler.

No other candidates have entered the race so far in the Republican-leaning county. Bianchi declined to say whether he expects opposition in the GOP primary next spring.

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