Chicago lawmaker enters plea in red-light camera scandal


CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago state senator pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of lying to the FBI and seeking a bribe to oppose legislation that would have required a statewide evaluation of red-light camera systems.

Sen. Emil Jones III, the latest public official implicated in the bribery scheme, entered the plea by telephone before U.S. District Judge Andrea Wood.

“I plead not guilty, your honor,” he said in a calm voice.

Jones has an unsecured bond of $10,000.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday called for Jones to resign his seat, one day after Jones stepped down from his unpaid post as deputy leader for the Senate Democrats and his $11,098-per-year committee chair position at the request of Senate President Don Harmon.

Jones is running unopposed in the Nov. 8 general election.

Prosecutors allege that Jones, a South Side Democrat, told an individual with an interest in the camera system operator SafeSpeed that he would protect it from legislation in the General Assembly in exchange for $5,000 and a job for an unnamed associate.

Prosecutors have not named the red-light camera company, but SafeSpeed issued a statement Tuesday indicating that a former associate was involved.

Neither SafeSpeed nor its current owners have been charged with any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, SafeSpeed released statement saying, “SafeSpeed remains both shocked and saddened that one of its former colleagues was wngaged in criminal conduct and recruited outside individuals to help further his self-serving activities.”

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