Two former Cook County prosecutors hit with charges in Burge-connected Jackie Wilson case – Chicago Tribune newstrendslive

Two former Cook County prosecutors have been indicted by a grand jury on charges of perjury and official misconduct in connection with a complicated, decades-old case of a man who alleged torture after he was accused in the killing of two cops in 1982, according to a special prosecutor who was assigned to investigate the matter.

Lawrence Oliver, a former federal prosecutor and lawyer for Boeing, made the announcement Wednesday afternoon at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, another chapter in a 40-year saga that involved slain Chicago police officers, allegations of torture by police working under notorious ex-Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge and accusations that a Cook County assistant state’s attorney had a relationship with a witness and perjured himself.

The grand jury returned indictments against Nick Trutenko and Andrew Horvat, who are accused of wrongdoing in connection with a witness against Jackie Wilson, Oliver said. Wilson, along with his brother Andrew, was arrested and charged with murder in the fatal shootings of Chicago police Officers William Fahey and Richard O’Brien in 1982.

Trutenko is charged with perjury and other counts, while Horvat is facing charges of official misconduct, Oliver said.

An Illinois appeals court twice overturned Jackie Wilson’s murder convictions, and when special prosecutors tried the case a third time, it blew up spectacularly in 2020. Special prosecutors assigned to try the case in lieu of the Cook County state’s attorney’s office suddenly dropped charges after allegations surfaced that Trutenko, who originally prosecuted Wilson and was called as a defense witness in the 2020 case, lied under oath.

Special prosecutor Lawrence Oliver, a former federal prosecutor and lawyer for Boeing, gives an update on the case of Jackie Wilson at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on March 8, 2023.

A judge later that year officially declared Wilson, who has said he was tortured into a false confession by detectives working under Burge, innocent after he had served more than three decades behind bars.

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“Wilson never received a fair trial in any of those trials,” Oliver said.

In 2021, a Cook County judge assigned Oliver as a special prosecutor tasked with looking into the alleged perjury by Trutenko, as well as the “legal and ethical nightmare” posed by assigning assistant state’s attorneys to represent Trutenko as a trial witness and the state’s attorney’s office as a whole.

Trutenko, who prosecuted Wilson in his 1989 trial, testified as a defense witness that he had a close friendship with a key witness from Wilson’s 1989 trial — William Coleman, who was reputed to be an international con man, liar and fugitive. Because William Coleman’s whereabouts were unknown at that time, transcripts of his previous testimony against Wilson were read into the record at the trial.

But Trutenko took the stand and said Coleman was still alive. Furthermore, he said he had not discussed Coleman with the special prosecutors handling Wilson’s case, which was untrue, according to those prosecutors. When they heard the alleged perjury, they dropped the charges against Wilson altogether.

Trutenko was represented by then-Cook County prosecutor Horvat, who subsequently left the prosecutor’s office. The special prosecutors who tried Wilson had said Horvat had warned them against asking Trutenko any questions about Coleman.

Oliver said the grand jury found no further wrongdoing.

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