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updated: 2/26/2013 2:40 PM

Chicago court could close 1 day a week with cuts

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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.

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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