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3 of prosecutor's top aides sign on with sheriff
As Devine's term winds down, veteran staffers make move

Monday, July 14, 2008
Chicago Sun-Times

With Dick Devine's last term as Cook County state's attorney set to expire at the end of this year, some of his top aides are already moving on -- and joining the office of Sheriff Tom Dart.

Devine, 65, revealed last summer he would not seek a fourth term as state's attorney. Veteran prosecutor Anita Alvarez, a Democrat, is running against Republican Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica to succeed him.

Last month, felony trial division chief John Murphy quit to become the assistant director of the Office of Professional Review, the Cook County sheriff's internal affairs department. Murphy's move followed that of Mike Smith, who recently joined Dart's office as the deputy chief of the sheriff's police. Smith had been deputy chief of the state's attorney's Special Prosecutions Bureau.

On Thursday, the chief of special prosecutions, Scott Cassidy, bid farewell to the state's attorney's office after 22 years. As head of special prosecutions, Cassidy oversaw the office's most sensitive cases, including those involving alleged police misconduct, financial crimes, and cold cases.

Most recently, cases under Cassidy's supervision included the prosecution of Jerome Finnigan and other Chicago Police officers in the Special Operations Section and of Anthony Abbate, a Chicago cop charged in the videotaped beating of a female bartender.

Cassidy, 50, had a storied career with the state's attorney's office, personally prosecuting mob hit man Harry Aleman as well as Kenneth Hansen, convicted in 2002 of the notorious 1955 Schuessler-Peterson murders. Cassidy also played a key role in last year's prosecution of Juan Luna, convicted of the 1993 Brown's Chicken murders.

As special assistant to Dart, Cassidy will "oversee our investigative cold case squad and some gang crimes," said Dart spokeswoman Penny Mateck.

Cassidy and Murphy will each earn $120,000 a year, Mateck said, while Smith is making $120,288 a year.

"The sheriff is making it a point to bring in good people with experience in areas he's looking for," Mateck said.

Dart has also made another recent high-profile hire. Terry Hake, who as an FBI mole posed as a crooked lawyer during the Operation Greylord probe of judicial corruption in Cook County, will become a supervisor in the Office of Professional Review. Hake is retiring from the U.S. Justice Department's office of the inspector general and will start the $88,645-a-year post in Dart's office Aug. 4.

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