- In a sweeping victory for federal authorities, a jury wasted little time Tuesday before convicting John Bills on all 20 counts, finding that the former Chicago city official took up to $2 million in bribes and gifts in return for steering tens of millions of dollars in red light camera contracts to an Arizona company.
With his conviction on mail and wire fraud, bribery, extortion, conspiracy and tax fraud charges, Bills faces at least 10 years in prison, and possibly more than 20 years, his attorney said.
Start spilling the beans there Bills. Unraveling Chicago corruption might take years, but you've got 10-to-20 facing you. You almost certainly kicked money up the food chain. Even the jurors wondered:
- While many jurors leaving the courthouse Tuesday declined to comment about their deliberations, one juror said that while the evidence against Bills was plentiful, the trial raised as many questions as it answered.
"Where else does it lead, you have to wonder," said Michael Woerner, 63, a former Hinsdale village president. "There's got to be somebody above him. Why didn't he cut a deal? That was the big question."
Woerner, who lives in Burr Ridge, said those questions and others bubbled to the surface at times during deliberations.
"But every time somebody started to talk about it, somebody else would say, 'We have a lot of work to do, let's get to it,'" he said.
Let's get to it indeed.