State senator facing federal bribery charges
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An Illinois state senator is facing federal charges in a red light bribery scheme.
Emil Jones III was charged with federal obstruction of justice after lying to the FBI about taking money from SafeSpeed, an automatic traffic safety systems company, to kill legislation requiring traffic studies for automated camera systems.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Omar Maani — a former SafeSpeed partner — was charged separately as a part of a deferred prosecution deal in exchange for aiding the federal investigation back in 2020.
SafeSpeed has not been charged in the case and maintains that Maani was acting alone in his pursuits.
“SafeSpeed remains both shocked and saddened that one of its former colleagues was engaged in criminal conduct and recruited outside individuals to help further his self-serving activities,” SafeSpeed said in a statement Tuesday. “Their actions were clearly in their own self-interest and done without SafeSpeed’s knowledge and undercut the important work SafeSpeed does … SafeSpeed has long since terminated all contact with its former colleague and his associates.”
Jones III — the son of former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr. — was charged via criminal information, which suggests he may plan to plead guilty.
“The charges brought against my son, Emil Jones III, do not reflect the man he is,” Jones Jr said in a statement Tuesday. “Everyone knows he is an honest, hardworking legislator. I intend to fight with him and stand alongside him throughout this process.”
The charges stem from a 2019 investigation that was blown open after an FBI raid on then-state senator Martin Sandoval’s offices. Since the raid at Sandoval’s offices, two Chicagoland area mayors — Oakbrook Terrace’s Tony Ragucci and Crestwood’s Louis Presta — have also been indicted and found guilty of charges in connection to information obtained during the Sandoval raid.
The details around this story are still developing. Stay with WGN News as this story will be updated as more information becomes available.
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