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Stroger to testify in pal's corruption trial

Friday, September 06, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times
by Kim Janssen

Former Cook County President Todd Stroger isn’t standing trial on corruption charges in federal court this week — his lifelong best pal and former spokesman Eugene Mullins is.

But it’s Stroger himself who’ll likely hog the limelight, all the same.

Mullins’ attorney Brunell L. Donald-Kyei — who has previously claimed Stroger was the real target of the federal investigation that snared her client — confirmed in a court filing late last week that she plans to call Stroger to the stand.

If she follows through, Stroger will likely face an awkward grilling from prosecutors who say Mullins accepted more than $34,000 while still working for the county in exchange for steering government contracts to four men.

Stroger “is not concerned about being cross-examined by the government,” according to Donald-Kyei, who told the Sun-Times that Stroger “understood from the very beginning” that Mullins was innocent and will testify that his pal had no power to approve or modify county contracts.

Both he and Mullins have consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Just last month another former Stroger aide, Carla Oglesby, was convicted in state court of theft and money laundering but cleared of several counts of financial crimes and official misconduct charges.

Oglesby’s lawyer Anthony Schumann also claimed prior to that trial that Stroger would testify in Oglesby’s defense, though when the chance came he did not call any witnesses.

During the trial, he blamed Mullins for the wrongdoing that snared Oglesby. But Donald-Kyei on Friday pointed the finger back at Oglesby and two other former county officials she said approved the allegedly crooked county contracts.

“Mr. Mullins is an innocent American,” she said.

Stroger did not respond to calls seeking comment Friday.

Jury selection is due to start Monday morning.

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