I-Team Report: Stale Charges
May 27, 2009 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Former Chicago police commander Jon Burge calls the federal case against him 'stale charges.'
Burge's lawyers are asking that the case be thrown out because the torture charges are too old.
There is no doubt that the torture charges are old. The incidents alleged by federal prosecutors occurred between 23 and 36 years ago.
The I-Team has obtained a motion to dismiss the case against Mr. Burge filed by his attorneys, calling them 'stale charges,' contending the allegations are ancient and witnesses are either feeble-minded or dead.
Former police commander Jon Burge, 61, is charged with lying about whether he tortured murder suspects to make them confess. And Burge is charged with obstruction of justice.
In a 16-page motion to dismiss the federal charges, Burge's lawyers say on Wednesday night that they have no way to prove his torture statements were true because "...witnesses have died, memories are faded and documents cannot be located."
What burge's attorneys contend is a "stale case."
"It's a motion filed by a desperate man," said Flint Taylor, torture victims' attorney.
Attorney Flint Taylor of the People's Law Office represents several of Burge's alleged torture victims.
"It's very height of irony that the man along with his cohorts at area 2 for so many years covered up evidence and lied in order to avoid prosecution for torture is now claiming that because he was successful for awhile in his cover-up that he should not be brought to justice," said Taylor.
Burge, who has been the target of numerous investigations, special prosecutors and civil suits, allegedly rigged electric cables to suspects' extremities as a way to encourage cooperation. He has always denied the torture charges.
In the latest motion, Burge highlights a new problem: "...To this date, we have been unable to locate some of the records," his lawyers claim. "Many important exhibits are still missing. Many police records, OPS [Office if Professional Standards] records and medical records are no longer available."
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Safer says the "stale case" tactic is likely to fail.
"I do not think that will be enough for them to dismiss the indictment because it takes time to investigate these charges," said Ronald Safer.
And we also know the size of the kitchen sink prosecutors have thrown at Burge.
His motion to dismiss says: "We are still in the process of sifting through the 1/2 million-page database and preparing Burge's defense."
"We have a very strong hope that the US attorney with his continuing investigation will indict other of Burge's men including his right hand man," said Taylor.
The United States attorney declined to comment on Burge's motion to dismiss. However, sources familiar with the investigation expect other charges for perjury.
Mr. Burge's team of attorneys did not respond to our requests for interviews. He is asking for a hearing on the motion to dismiss. If the case goes forward, trial date is late October.
jon burge, i-team, chuck goudie
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