Feds want longer prison sentence for ex-Ald. Medrano than Blagojevich
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter January 2, 2014 1:54PM
Former Ald. Ambrosio Medrano
Updated: February 4, 2014 6:22AM
He already has the dubious distinction of being the only former Chicago alderman to be convicted of corruption on two separate occasions.
Now the feds want Ambrosio Medrano to make history again — by serving the longest prison sentence ever handed to a Chicago politician.
Prosecutors say the 61-year-old’s decision to return to a life of crime after serving a 30 month sentence for accepting a $31,000 bribe in the 1990s means this time he deserves to do even a lengthier stretch behind bars than disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was sentenced to 14 years in 2011.
They want U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman to lock up Medrano for between 14 and 17 1/2 years for his role in scams to pay bribes in return for medical contracts with Cook County and Los Angeles County, and his receipt of kickbacks connected to Cicero government.
“In many respects Medrano’s actions are more severe than Blagojevich’s,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Stetler wrote in court papers filed this week.
“Not only did Medrano reoffend, but he did so repeatedly and in connection with three different governments.”
Medrano — who was secretly taped echoing shamed co-conspirator and former Cook County Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno’s comments that he wanted to be a “pig” at the trough of government contract, but not a “hog” because “hogs get slaughtered” — argues that Blagojevich’s crimes are far worse and that he should get no more than 9 years.
But his lawyer, Gal Pissetzky, wrote in a court filing that Medrano’s “motivation was never to hurt the people of Chicago, who he absolutely loves and always helped, but to attempt to alleviate his family’s financial struggle.”
Medrano faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years when he is sentenced Jan. 10 — plus a potential additional 5 years when he’s sentenced later in the month by Judge John Tharp for another part of the health care scam.
The longest sentence ever handed to an Illinois politician is believed to be the 20-year sentence handed last year to former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell, who stole tens of millions of dollars from her downstate town.
The 15-year sentence handed to Cook County Judge Thomas J. Maloney in 1994 for accepting bribes to fix murder trials remains the heftiest ever imposed on a Chicago-area elected official.