Joseph Moreno, ex-county commissioner, in plea talks in bribery case, lawyer says
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org November 19, 2012 10:38AM
Former Cook County Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno leaves federal court after being charged with taking part in bribery schemes on June 28. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
Updated: December 21, 2012 6:14AM
Joseph Mario Moreno allegedly told a pal he wanted “to be a pig.”
Now the former Cook County commissioner may be squealing.
The smooth-talking 58-year-old indicated Monday that he is negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors over allegations that he took bribes to direct business to county hospitals.
Moreno’s case “unquestionably is going to be resolved other than by trial,” his attorney, Richard Kling, told U.S. District Court Judge Gary Feinerman during a brief hearing in federal court.
It’s another sign, sources say, that the expensively-suited one-time commodore of the Diversey Yacht Club is cooperating with the feds.
“I don’t want to be a hog, I just want to be a pig,” Moreno was secretly taped telling a cooperator, according to a federal complaint unsealed earlier this year. “Hogs get slaughtered, pigs get fat.”
Moreno is accused of teaming up with former Ald. Ambrosio Medrano in a scheme that allegedly saw both men promised cash for every bandage that Cook County purchased from Chasing Lions, a medical products distributor.
Medrano wants to see how his trial in a separate prescription drug scam case involving out-of-state hospitals goes before considering any possible deal, his attorney Gal Pissetzky said Monday. That trial is set for February, and Medrano is “absolutely looking forward” to it, Pissetzky said.
Moreno is also accused, in a third case, of accepting an envelope stuffed with cash to back the development of a new waste-transfer station in Cicero while he sat on the town’s economic development panel.
Though that case was kept under seal for months, Kling refused to say earlier this year whether Moreno was cooperating with federal authorities.
Michael DiFoggio, a politically-connected Bridgeport developer who acted as a mole for the FBI in the cases against Moreno and Medrano, pled guilty to tax evasion last month.