Suspended cop accused of planning murder-for-hire
September 26, 2007 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- New charges have been filed against suspended Chicago Police officer Jerome Finnigan. Federal authorities say Finnigan tried to hire someone to kill a fellow police officer.
The charges against Jerome Finnigan were already very serious. The former Chicago Police officer is at the center of a corruption probe. Now, Finnigan is accused of trying to hire a hitman to take out one or even several of his former colleagues, who were also on the Chicago Police Department's special operations team.
"When the person who seeks to hire someone to kill a witness against him is a police officer, it doesn't get anymore serious than that," said Patrick Fitzgerald, US attorney.
The feds say they have unraveled a murder-for-hire plot hatched by a former Chicago Police officer.
Agents arrested 44-year-old Jerome Finnigan outside his Southwest Side home Wednesday morning after allegedly capturing cell phone conversations in which Finnigan and "cooperating witness number two" -- also a former Chicago Police officer -- discuss hiring street gang members to kill another former officer, "cooperating witness number one," for $5,000.
In recordings made last week, prosecutors say Finnigan refers to the planned hit as a "paint job."
Finnigan and five other members of an elite Chicago police unit, the SOS team, were arrested last year for allegedly shaking down drug dealers.
Finnigan was in court Wednesday, his ankles in shackles. Neither he nor his defense attorney would make any comment. But prosecutors say further charges may be coming.
In the recordings, Finnigan allegedly talks about taking out several other officers who he thought were cooperating with authorities.
"There were three other police officers that he believed to be cooperating in the investigation and he talked about killing them as well," Fitzgerald said.
Chicago Police Interim Superintendent Dana Starks released a statement saying: "Today's federal arrest further illustrates that the public's trust cannot be violated. No one is above the law, especially a police officer and misconduct on any level will not be tolerated."
"This is another chapter in a truly sordid story," said Richard Devine, Cook County state's attorney.
In court Wednesday, prosecutors urged the judge to keep Finnigan in jail until Monday because they said there could be further charges between now and then that could influence his decision on the matter of bond. The judge complied.
Meanwhile, the feds say they still have an ongoing investigation into the original corruption probe. No word on when charges might stem from that probe.
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