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Joseph Moreno, ex-county commissioner, in plea talks in bribery case, lawyer says

Monday, November 19, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
by KIM JANSSEN

Former Cook County Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno is negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors over allegations that he took bribes, his attorney said Monday.


Moreno’s case “unquestionably is going to be resolved other than by trial,” Richard Kling told Judge Gary Feinerman during a brief hearing in federal court.

The announcement is the first concrete sign that Moreno — the smooth-talking, expensively suited one-time commodore of the Diversey Yacht Club — plans to plead guilty to a medical supply scheme that he allegedly carried out with former Ald. Ambrosio Medrano.

Medrano, too, is discussing a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s office, though he wants to see how his trial in a separate prescription drug scam case involving out-of-state hospitals goes before deciding whether to take a deal, his attorney Gal Pissetzky said. That trial is set for February.

Both men are accused of taking bribes and kickbacks to sell bandages to public hospitals including Stroger Hospital.

According to federal prosecutors, Moreno and Medrano were promised cash for every bandage that Cook County purchased from Chasing Lions, a medical products distributor.

Moreno is also accused, in a third case, of accepting an envelope stuffed with cash to back the development of a new waste-transfer station in Cicero while he sat on the town’s economic development panel.

Though that case was kept under seal for months, Kling refused to say earlier this year whether Moreno was cooperating with federal authorities.



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