Local

Bianchi's lawsuit dismissed, but will be refiled

A judge dismissed McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi's federal lawsuit against the special prosecutors who put him on trial twice, but gave Bianchi 28 days to file the suit again.

About a year ago, Bianchi filed the lawsuit against Thomas 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.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. dismissed the suit, with reasons that include immunity for prosecutors.

There is a downside to that immunity in that "genuinely wronged" defendants have no redress, Dow said, but putting limitations on it would prevent prosecutors from doing their jobs.

Dow also said that the complaint does not allege that McQueen was retaliating against Bianchi, Dow said.

Instead, it says that Bianchi's Republican opponents wanted to unseat him, but not why McQueen, who was appointed by a judge, is one of those opponents, Dow said.

"In fact, the complaint is devoid of any allegation that either Tonigan or McQueen (or any other Defendant) even knew any of the Plaintiffs prior to their appointment by Judge Graham, much less had any political axe to grind."

IN 2009, McHenry County Judge Gordon Graham appointed Tonigan and McQueen to investigate claims by Bianchi’s former secretary that he had her do campaign work for him on taxpayer time.

A special grand jury handed up 21 corruption counts against Bianchi, and six against his secretary, Joyce Synek. Graham authorized Tonigan and McQueen to expand their investigation, which resulted in three more charges against Bianchi and one each against state’s attorney investigators Ron Salgado and Michael McCleary.

Over the course of two bench trials, a Winnebago County judge acquitted Bianchi and Synek of all charges without the defense having to call a single witness.

The judge also threw out charges against Salgado and McCleary.
 

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