SNEED: Koschman grand jury meeting in location giving them ‘total secrecy’
By MICHAEL SNEED firstname.lastname@example.org July 25, 2012 9:08PM
David Koschman (left) and Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko
Updated: August 27, 2012 11:07AM
Sneed Exclusive ...
It’s hush hush and highly unusual!
Sneed has learned powerhouse attorney Dan K. Webb, the special prosecutor probing the controversial 2004 death of David Koschman, has chosen a special location to conduct his grand jury.
◆The site: The bowels of his Winston & Strawn law firm.
◆The shocker: Cook County grand juries traditionally do their work at the Criminal Courts Building under the watch of State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
But not this time.
The death of Koschman, who died after being punched by Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko—a nephew of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley—is being investigated “totally independent of the state court system,” said a top Sneed source.
“There were allegations of police misconduct in the Koschman case and fear the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office may have intentionally botched the case,” said the source.
◆Translation: “Webb has been given a mandate to find out what happened and is conducting the probe independent of the State’s Attorney’s office and outside the walls of the Criminal Courts building,” added the source.
◆The upshot: “Due to Webb’s mandate as special prosecutor, he took the unusual move to conduct the probe at the law firm, where a special section has been made available so the grand jurors can move about in total secrecy,” said the source.
◆Backshot: Webb, the top federal prosecutor in Chicago from 1981 to 1985—was given the authority to subpoena records and compel witnesses to testify under oath before a grand jury.
◆Backstory: Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin, who appointed Webb as special prosecutor, declared “the system has failed” Koschman, a 21-year-old from Mount Prospect who bumped into a group including Vanecko after a night out drinking on Rush Street eight years ago and ended up in a coma from which he never awoke, dying 11 days later.
Sneed has also learned Circuit Court Judge Charles Burns wore “extra padding” underneath his black robes during the trial of William Balfour, who was just sentenced to life in prison for killing the mother, brother and nephew of singer Jennifer Hudson.
◆Translation: Due to death threats, Judge Burns wore a bullet-resistant vest during the start of the Balfour trial, according to a top judicial source.
A McCarthy memo ...
Sneed hears actress Jenny McCarthy, who has returned to her Chicago roots, was house shopping in the Beverly neighborhood last week.
◆To wit: Word is McCarthy, who grew up near Midway Airport, was checking out palatial digs on Longwood Drive between 95th and 109th Streets.
◆Backstory: McCarthy, who’s dating Chicago Bear Brian Urlacher and claims she prefers Chicago guys over Hollywood types, recently moved to Chicago from LA with her son.
Kim’s Whim ...
How quaint: The “shocking” discovery this week pudgy North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had a wife—was met with this governmental introduction.
◆The communist leader’s new wife is now known as: “Comrade Ri Sol Ju.”
Ai! Ai! Ali?
Olympic fingers are crossed beloved boxing champion Muhammad Ali will show up and light London’s 2012 Olympic torch Friday, but his fragility is keeping the press from ending their sentences with a period—rather than a question mark.
◆Fact: Ali is in London to accept a honor at the Royal Albert Hall two days before the Olympic fest begins. “I know dad is in London , but that’s all I know,” Ali’s daughter, Jamillah Joyce, told Sneed.
Condolences to the family of former 1st ward GOP committeeman Joseph B. Nigro, who died Wednesday at age 66 ... Condolences to also to the family of William A. Latsko Jr., who passed away kast week at age 50. ... Thursday’s birthdays: Sandra Bullock, 49; Mick Jagger, 69, and Thom Serafin, ageless.