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Article updated: 2/26/2013 2:40 PM

Chicago court could close 1 day a week with cuts

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By Associated Press

One of the country's busiest federal courts could close one day a week without a deal in Washington to avert spending cuts.

That's the warning Tuesday from the clerk for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Tom Bruton.

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He tells The Associated Press his annual operating budget of around $16 million could lose millions.

He says the federal spending cuts would be a budgetary storm for the Chicago-based court. But he says it's not yet clear if it'll be "a level-one hurricane or level-five."

In preparation, Bruton's already keeping his staff at around 130, down from a full-staff level of 200.

With no fix, Burton says civil trials may halt completely by September. And he says one-day-a-week closings would mean "justice delayed" for criminal trials.

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