Crime & Courts

Bianchi accuses special prosecutor of contempt

WOODSTOCK – McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi wants one of the special prosecutors who twice put him on trial held in criminal contempt of court.

In documents filed Friday, Bianchi says emails show that Thomas McQueen knowingly failed to turn over statements and information that showed Bianchi wasn’t guilty.

“Now we’re seeing, in black and white on paper, exactly what was going on, and I think it’s astounding,” said Bianchi’s attorney, Terry Ekl.

Exactly what kind of sanctions, if any, should be imposed are up to Winnebago County Judge Joseph McGraw, who presided over Bianchi’s two trials, Ekl said. Both times, McGraw acquitted Bianchi without the defense calling any witnesses.

When reached Friday, McQueen declined to comment.

Almost a year ago, Bianchi filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against McQueen and the other special prosecutor appointed to investigate him, Henry Tonigan, saying that they were motivated by politics and money.

Tonigan has since settled, agreeing to pay $157,500 but not admitting any fault.

As part of that case, about 17,000 documents, most of which were emails between McQueen and investigators from computer forensics firm Quest Consultants, were turned over to Bianchi.

Bianchi also wants two investigators, Robert Scigalski and Patrick Hanretty, held in contempt.

The emails, Bianchi said, show that McQueen knew about statements from Tom Carroll, who was called to testify against Bianchi on charges that Bianchi had political work done on county time.

Carroll, who was chief of the State’s Attorney’s Office Civil Division, has since resigned.

“Carroll stated that he knew of no situation where County monies were spent by Bianchi for private or political purposes,” Scigalski wrote in an email to McQueen, according to the court documents.

But Bianchi says that statement was revised to exclude the exculpatory evidence and add evidence that made him look guilty.

Bianchi also alleges that McQueen withheld information that there was a virus on Bianchi secretary Joyce Synek’s computer.

In September 2010 along with Bianchi, Synek was indicted on her own charges, accused of deleting documents from her computer after she was subpoenaed.

The virus, Bianchi said, was a logical explanation for why certain files were missing.

Bianchi was indicted on three additional counts – as were investigators Ron Salgado and Michael McCleary on misconduct charges – in February 2011.

Bianchi also accuses McQueen of failing to turn over exculpatory statements related to those charges.

The charges against Salgado and McCleary were tossed before they ever went to trial.

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