Crooked City

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Filtering by Category: PLO

An Open Letter to PLO Attorney Joey Mogul...

Dear Ms. Mogul,

I am in receipt of your letter, reprinted in part, sent yesterday to my attorney, Tom Osran. In it, you accuse him of “bullying” and being “offensively aggressive” toward you when he called you to discuss the relevance of certain seemingly superfluous emails you were requesting.  

First, let me encourage you to reconsider your use of the term bullying. The request by my attorney was a simple matter in such motions, requested, he assures me, in a routine, matter of fact manner. How you could construe this as bullying or offensively aggressive is hard to imagine. 

Maybe I can help. Let me see if I can point out the difference between civilized communications and bullying by providing you with a few examples. 

When private investigator Paul Ciolino, working on behalf of Northwestern University, went to the residence of Alstory Simon in 1999, armed, and threatened with violence and trumped up criminal charges in order to get Simon to confess to a double murder he did not commit, that was bullying. 

When Ciolino and former Professor David Protess made deals with other witnesses to provide false testimony to free sociopathic killer Anthony Porter, that was bullying. 

When Protess and Ciolino manipulated naive Northwestern students to take part in their plan to frame Alstory Simon, that was bullying. 

When Ciolino and student Thomas McCann badgered William Taylor into changing his eyewitness testimony in the Porter case, that was bullying. 

When a central witness in the Madison Hobley case described how Ciolino and DePaul University Professor Andrea Lyon came to his house and attempted to bribe him into changing his testimony, that, if true, would be bullying. 

When Ciolino, Protess, and the students publicly claimed, without any evidence, that the detectives in the Porter case, Charles Salvatore and Dennis Gray, framed Porter for the murders, that would be a kind of bullying. 

When the two detectives fought to have the case go to a civil trial and found an attorney, Walter Jones, willing to look at the evidence, and that attorney refused to settle and argued in court that Porter was the offender in the murders and then told stupified journalists after the verdict that he thought Porter was the offender, and Eric Zorn, who had not even bothered to hear the evidence in the case, lashed out at Jones in a column the following day for daring to suggest Porter was guilty, that would be bullying. 

When law firms have a cabal of “journalists” like John Conroy, Mike Miner, Steve Mills, Eric Zorn, Fran Spielman and Neil Steinberge willing to obfuscate the facts or ignore them altogether in an attempt to push a wrongful conviction narrative and vilify the police and prosecutors, well, that would be a kind of journalistic bullying. 

When a Governor renowned for his corruption suddenly pardons four inmates on death row, even one who set a fire that killed seven people, including his own wife and child, without any new evidence of their innocence, disregarding the hardship and sorrow family members of the victims must endure, that too is a kind of bullying.

When another governor commutes the sentence of a man convicted on four counts of attempted murder in the waning moments of the governor’s administration, without even explaining his decision, well that would be a kind of bullying the entire criminal justice system that spent nine years working to convict the offender. 

When a group of terrorists make bombs and set them off in public places, murdering innocent people, that is a form of bullying. 

And when a writer—a writer whose work played a pivotal role in reversing the most clear wrongful conviction case in the state’s history—is the target of a malevolent attack upon his privacy and free speech in order to vilify him and therefore silence him, well, that would be a form of bullying as well. 

But an attorney calling you to clarify the terms of a court motion, that is not bullying. That is just a mundane legal matter. 

In fact, it is your nasty, calculated letter making such absurd allegations against my lawyer that is the real bullying. 

Are you getting the picture? 

I know it is a difficult thing to sit down and reason with people who disagree with you or people you hate. Doing so is one of the principles of police work when one is a police officer in a free society. Some cops do it better than others. But I take the principle of such civility as a kind of higher calling and my successes in doing so with a sense of pride and honor. 

But then, as both a cop and a writer, I believe in democracy, and therefore conceive of the courts and legal system guided by the ideals of justice and truth seeking, not merely as instruments of destruction and vengeance.  

Very Truly Yours,

Martin Preib

Chicago Police Officer


Flint Taylor Goes After Crooked City Writer

A judge ruled this week that a Chicago Police Officer who is also an award-winning writer must turn over email messages he has received from former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge.  

Circuit Court Judge Erica Riddic ordered the release of email records by Chicago cop Martin Preib, whose 2014 book, Crooked City, played a pivotal role in undermining a central wrongful conviction case in Illinois. 

Preib is currently writing a book about Jon Burge. 

The order arose from a subpoena by Chicago Attorney G. Flint Taylor of the People’s Law Office, a law firm that has made its fame and fortune by claiming police torture and coercion. In particular, Taylor has spearheaded the thirty-year fight against Burge, claiming he and his men routinely tortured confessions from suspects. 

Preib’s attorney had argued that the subpoena violated Preib’s freedom of speech and his protection under the statute protecting journalists and their sources. 

Preib is the author of another book, The Wagon and Other Stories From the City, as well as several articles in national magazines. His blog,, also describes his investigation into corruption within the wrongful conviction movement. 

Last month, Preib published an exclusive statement from Jon Burge in response to the decision by the Chicago City Council to establish a reparations fund to men who claimed they were abused by Chicago Police, a decision by the council that infuriated many attorneys and members of law enforcement.

Here is part of Burge’s statement about the decision:

What about reparations for the families of the African American victims of the heinous crimes perpetrated by the scum who now demand reparations? This entire scenario is being manipulated by lawyers like G. Flint Taylor and his ilk. They have been getting rich for years filing specious lawsuits against Chicago Police Officers, the City of Chicago and other government entities. They know that 99% of the time the City will settle the lawsuit rather than go to trial because it’s cheaper. The City never admits wrongdoing on their part or the part of the individual defendants (police officers) when they settle.

Burge’s comments drew Taylor’s ire. Taylor responded in the Sun Times:

“(Burge) is clearly a serial human rights violator who has committed racist crimes against humanity too numerous to count. And this attack on the men who have so bravely stood up to him — and who a jury and a federal judge relied upon to send him to the penitentiary — only underscores how disgraceful and cowardly his unsworn statements . . . slandering me, my fellow lawyers and these clients are,” Taylor said.

“He says the truth will come out. The truth has come out. That’s why the city has acted as it has. No matter what kind of cowardly statements Burge may make under cover of darkness, it is not going to change the public record of his and his fellow officers’ crimes.”  

The truth has come out? 

Well, let’s take a look at that.

In Burge’s full statement, Burge cites the Anthony Porter case. 

The Porter case plays a pivotal role in the wrongful conviction narrative, including Taylor’s, because Porter’s exoneration paved the ay for other inmates to go free, including inmates represented by Taylor and the PLO.  

In the Porter case, wrongful conviction activists at Northwestern University coerced an innocent man, Alstory Simon, into confessing to the crimes in order to allow Anthony Porter to be exonerated. 

But last year, Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez released Simon from prison, saying his constitutional rights had been violated by Northwestern Professor David Protess and his private investigator Paul Ciolino. 

A few weeks ago, Judge Thomas Byrne went one step further and declared that Alstory Simon was innocent. 

Just last month, former Tribune reporter William Crawford published a book, Justice Perverted: How The Innocence Project at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism Sent an Innocent Man to Prison, detailing the corruption at Northwestern’s Innocence Project in the Porter case, including evidence that other cases taken up by the school are also highly suspicious. 

Even Taylor himself has admitted the crucial role the Porter exoneration plays in his 30-year narrative about the Chicago Police. He said as much in a 2013 article for The Nation magazine about Governor Ryan’s ending of the death penalty and his freeing of several death row inmates:

[Former Illinois Governor George] Ryan’s momentous actions [i.e., the ending of the state’s death penalty] were partly inspired by the case of Anthony Porter, who came within days of execution only to later be exonerated, thanks in large part to the work of journalism students at Northwestern University. Much credit has been awarded to their work in opening Ryan’s eyes—and rightly so. 

But now with the release of Simon and the declaration by a judge that Simon is innocent, it turns out Ryan’s eyes weren’t open at all, and neither were Taylor’s. 

What makes the downfall of the Porter case even worse is the fact that Northwestern University worked with Taylor’s PLO and other law firms on several cases, yet neither Taylor nor any other law firm has explained why they did not see the corruption at Northwestern, corruption that was evident in the public record for more than a decade. 

Nor have the PLO or any other wrongful conviction law firms condemned the corruption at Northwestern.  

For the wrongful conviction law firms in Chicago, it seems that the truth has still not come out. 

Now wrongful conviction law firms are facing attacks on even more fronts. 

Alstory Simon’s attorneys have filed a $40 million lawsuit against Protess, Ciolino and Northwestern University, a lawsuit that is sure to cast more suspicion on key wrongful conviction cases. In the lawsuit, the attorneys cite a pattern of evidence in wrongful conviction cases dating back more than a decade. 

What must be of particular concern to the wrongful conviction advocates, including Taylor and the PLO, are the collection of inmates who were freed by Ryan in the wake of the Porter exoneration, in particular Madison Hobley. 

Hobley was convicted of setting a fire that killed seven people in 1987, including his own wife and child. He was exonerated by Governor Ryan—the same governor who let Porter out, buying Northwestern’s lies about Alstory Simon—even though no legal proceeding ever ruled that Hobley was in any way innocent of the crimes. 

Rather, each legal proceeding bolstered his conviction. 

In the lawsuit by Simon’s attorneys, they point out that a central witness in the Hobley conviction claims Ciolino attempted to bribe him into changing his statement. The witness’ account is chillingly similar to the claims of other witnesses who said Ciolino and Protess attempted to bribe them. 

And now extraordinary evidence of corruption within Taylor’s own law firm is emerging. 

For a long time, a key witness from the 1970s who infiltrated the terrorist organization Weather Underground (WU), Larry Grathwohl, stated that Taylor’s PLO and the Weather Underground were working hand in hand. 

Now a new book by Bryan Burroughs, Days of Rage, a history of the Weather Underground, corroborates Grathwohl’s statement. 

In his book, Burroughs quotes a founding member of the PLO, attorney Dennis Cunningham, and his wife, about their frequent visits to Weather Underground members, particularly founding WU member Bernadine Dohrn, in the days the WU was living underground and setting off bombs on the west coast. 

Burroughs describes how WU members became concerned that they would be spotted by members of law enforcement in their attempts to scout new bomb sites. In response, they hit on the idea of bringing children with them. 

But they didn’t have any children of their own. So, according to Burroughs, they used Cunningham’s children. 

Burroughs wrote in an article for Vanity Fair:

No beat cop, they (the Weather Underground members) reasoned, would suspect a family with kids out for an evening stroll. It was a brilliant idea; the only problem was, no one in Weather had children. A handful of supporters did, however, and this was how one of Dohrn’s friends, the Chicago attorney Dennis Cunningham, saw his family drawn into clandestineness. Cunningham was a key conduit for the money that paid the leadership’s living expenses. 

The truth is coming out. It’s right there in print. The children of a PLO member were used by terrorists to help them scout out new bombing locations. They were also supplying the terrorist bombers with money. Burroughs also rejects the claim by WU members that they were never out to injure anyone in their bomb sprees. On the contrary, he argues, they were a violent organization, particularly against the police. 

In the wake of all this evidence that the wrongful conviction movement is as crooked as any Chicago detective, real or imagined, the PLO narrative about the Chicago police is crumbling. 

Which begs a question: why is the PLO spending its time demanding the records of a beat cop who is also a published writer? 

Why the sudden war on a free speech?

Well, is it such a complicated question? Since the wrongful conviction narrative began to fail in the Porter case, wrongful conviction activists and their media allies have assailed anyone questioning the legitimacy of their claims. 

One wonders: Is Taylor trying to head off the growing chorus—headed by Preib—questioning Taylor’s claims about the police and the wrongful conviction narrative in general? 

After all, the Chicago FOP recently sent a letter to the Cook County State’s Attorney demanding a wider criminal probe into Northwestern’s wrongful conviction cases in light of the Porter debacle. 

The irony is thick. The PLO has allied itself with terrorist bombers for more than thirty years. Then it mastered the art of legal bombs hurled against police and prosecutors. 

Now it’s almost as if a metaphorical bomb is ticking in the offices of the law firms that have supported wrongful conviction claims for more than thirty years. 

Once it could not be heard. 

Now the ticking is clear, the actual living heartbeat of the Crooked City. 

An Open Letter to Sun Times Reporter Fran Spielman

Dear Fran,

About your recent article on Jon Burge’s statement condemning city reparations to exonerated offenders. 

The first word in the title of your article was “Disgraced.”

Burge’s statement mentions two cases, Anthony Porter and Madison Hobley. In your article, you do not discuss them, though Burge points to them as examples of rampant corruption in the wrongful conviction movement. 

It’s clear why you wouldn’t want to bring attention to them.  

Madison Hobley was angry at his wife because he had a mistress and he didn’t want to give her up.  So he set a fire in January of 1987 outside the door of his apartment while his wife and baby boy were sleeping inside. The fire engulfed the building. Seven people were burned to death, including his wife and child, 17 others badly injured. Some people were severely burned, others broke bones jumping from the windows to escape the flames. 

No wrongful conviction lawyer or Chicago journalist has ever explained how it could be that detectives, supervisors, and a host of other officers, scattered around the city at various hospitals, the morgue, the homes of witnesses, and the crime scene, could somehow conspire to pin the murders on a man they never knew hours after the fire. They never explain why the detectives would frame a man who had just lost his own wife and son in an arson, beyond some vague conception of these officers as completely evil. Nor do they explain how they could establish their fraudulent claims, never knowing if other evidence would arise revealing their fraud. 

In the twisted, self-indulgent mindset of the wrongful conviction activists and their journalist supporters, explaining such facts are inconvenient and unnecessary. They are, however, crucial in a trial, one reason Hobley was found guilty. 

Here are the established facts of the case. Jon Burge actually had nothing to do with the case whatsoever. Some of his colleagues investigated. They found Hobley, amassed a great body of evidence, including his confession, twice, and provided the basis for his conviction. He was sentenced to death. All of his appeals failed. 

The wrongful conviction activists in Chicago defied the entire criminal justice system that convicted Hobley. After a secret meeting between Hobley’s attorney, Andrea Lyon, and former Governor Ryan, a man renowned for his shocking absence of morality, Ryan pardoned Hobley, along with several other inmates who could never convince a court that they were innocent. 

Hobley’s attorneys, indeed, the entire wrongful conviction community, could never have gotten away with freeing Hobley had not reporters like you bought into their wild claims without questioning them or looking at the facts of the case.  

There was never any doubt that Hobley set the fire that killed seven people. 

But that’s not the worst of it. 

Up until Hobley was exonerated, wrongful conviction activists, particularly Flint Taylor, whom you quote at length in your article, were never able to get a criminal conviction against Burge. When Burge denied abusing anyone in the civil case brought by Hobley, federal prosecutors charged him with perjury and obstruction of justice. That’s how Burge was convicted. 

You and the Sun Times, indeed, the entire Chicago media machine are engaged in a vast coverup about the Hobley murders.

The Hobley exoneration, therefore, is a testament not to police corruption, but to a level of media corruption that is difficult to describe. 

It’s just as bad in the Porter case, when reporters like you ignored overwhelming evidence of criminal conspiracy by wrongful conviction activists, who freed killer Anthony Porter and sent an innocent man, Alstory Simon, to prison for more than a decade. Burge was trying to point this corruption out to you, and all the reporters in Chicago, in his statement, but you, true to form, will not give it any attention. 

“Disgraced” would be an understatement for you, your paper, and your colleagues in the media.

After all, to convict Burge, wrongful conviction activists and their media sycophants like you had to liberate a man who incinerated his own family.

Very Truly Yours,

The Conviction Project





PLO Defends Another Terrorist

A Chicago based lawyer failed in a recent bid to keep his terrorist client out of prison.

A Chicago-area activist was sentenced to 18 months in prison Thursday for failing to disclose her convictions for bombings in Israel when she applied to be a U.S. citizen.

Backed by dozens of supporters, Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, 67, of Evergreen Park, will remain free while she appeals. She was sentenced in Detroit's federal court.

Judge Gershwin Drain noted that Odeh was a "terrorist" decades ago but has changed her ways. Nonetheless, he said she lied.

Odeh faces mandatory deportation once she is done serving her time.

Odey had set off two bombs in 1969, one that killed two people. Several others were seriously injured. Odey was originally sentenced to life in prison, but had her sentence reduced as part of a prisoner exchange, records show.

And who was the lawyer representing Odey?

Michael Deutsch.

The Tribune failed to mention in the article the law firm Deutsch belongs to:  the People’s Law Office (PLO), the most prolific wrongful conviction law firm in the city. The PLO has made millions suing the city of Chicago, claiming the police tortured suspects into confessing.

One might wonder what a wrongful conviction law firm is doing representing a terrorist from the Middle East. But the PLO’s defense of terrorists and their crusade to free killers and vilify police officers are manifestations of the same radical political agenda guiding the law firm. Their goal is, and has been, to attack the system, whether it is going after cops in murder cases or supporting terrorists like Odey.

The PLO client list includes the FALN bombers and the NATO three, who were arrested and convicted for making incendiary devices, Molotov cocktails, the police claimed, at the 2012 NATO summit. Investigators stated these offenders planned on throwing the firebombs at police. The PLO also has a long association with other radical terrorists, like Bernadine Dohrn, a founding member of the Weather Underground, a terrorist organization that set off bombs throughout the country, many of them at police stations.

Dohrn eventually ended up at Northwestern University’s Law School, working on wrongful conviction cases. Her radicalism provides a chilling insight into the worldview at the heart of the wrongful conviction movement, one clearly shared by the PLO.


Here is the kind of argument the PLO put forward in defense of Odey:

Deutsch argued that it was “unfair” to question her application after she was granted citizenship and added that her alleged failure to disclose her imprisonment “is not a lie if you interpret it in the proper way,” arguing that many Palestinians were unjustly imprisoned.

Well, no lie is a lie if you “interpret it the right way.” But really, it’s unfair to question the application of a woman who set off two bombs, killing two British citizens?

After the story broke about Odey’s arrest, the National Review discovered this:

Odey — by then a vocal activist in Chicago’s Arab-American community — received certification to work as an Obamacare navigator, and on top of that, received it in one of the states that actually bother to run background checks on in-person counselors. Though a simple Google search would have revealed her shady past, the Illinois Department of Insurance quietly revoked Odeh’s certification only after it became aware of the immigration-fraud investigation.

The PLO is the founding law firm of the wrongful conviction movement. They work together on various cases with other firms and university departments. Despite the ties of this movement to terrorist groups, they have enjoyed a cozy relationship with the local press. Now, however, there are chinks in their armor. In the last year, several wrongful conviction cases have imploded, casting a dark shadow on the legitimacy of the movement and their tactics.  

Attorneys have filed a $40 million lawsuit against Northwestern University over the Anthony Porter wrongful conviction case, alleging that Northwestern Innocence Project investigators framed an innocent man, Alstory Simon, in order to free Porter.

A witness in another wrongful conviction bid, Willie Johson, pleaded guilty last year to perjury, undermining a case involving several wrongful conviction outlets like Northwestern Law School, the law firm, Loevy and Loevy, and the University of Chicago’s Exoneration Project working together. In the Johnson case, both the prosecutor and a judge stated they thought Johnson was lying to the court. The prosecutor indicted him and he took the plea. The media has yet to investigate why three prominent law firms/university law schools are bringing forward fraudulent witnesses.

A judge stated he believed an offender in a horrific rape case, Stanley Wrice, was guilty and that the recantation witnesses used to free him from prison were lying. The judge, Tom Byrne, made the statements in response to Wrice attempting to get a Certificate of Innocence. The local media has yet to explore how and why Wrice was freed from a 100-year sentence and then a judge said he was guilty and his recantation witnesses were lying. The exoneration of Wrice was the work of David Protess’ Chicago Innocence Project.  




Chicago Judge Gives Flint Taylor, PLO Nasty Slap down....

From the Chicago Tribune:


A Cook County judge today denied a new trial for a convicted murderer who alleged he was beaten into confessing by a detective who had worked under disgraced former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

Shawl Whirl looked down as Judge Jorge Alonso ruled this afternoon that Whirl “was not credible” and denied his petition.

Whirl pleaded guilty to the 1990 murder of a taxicab driver. His case had been sent back to the Circuit Court by the Illinois Torture Relief and Inquiry Commission after a hearing on Whirl’s claims that he was slapped and beaten by a Burge underling.

But Alonso noted that Burge had left Area 2 several years earlier and found that certain details in Whirl’s petition – including that the detective had held a potato chip bag over his mouth – hadn’t been raised in his earlier claims.

Whirl’s brother Dwain Howard, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the judge’s ruling. “I just expected a different outcome,” he said.

G. Flint Taylor, Whirl’s attorney, said he plans to appeal the decision.

Can it be? A Judge finally looked closely at the evidence in a wrongful conviction claim by the People's Law Office? And what did he find? Burge wasn't even around at the time. How, then, did the Illinois Torture and Relief Commission not observe the fact that Burge wasn't even in the Area at the time and let the case go forth? The commission has been under intense fire the last few months, from the family members of murder victims to State's Attorney Alvarez, to Governor Quinn. Kudos to this judge for not bowing to political pressure. The ruling is one more example the Illinois Torture and Relief Commission serves little purpose other than rubber stamping wrongful conviction claims at the taxpayers expense.