Defense attorney: Retired cop charged in Gliniewicz case 'not a risk to harm anyone'

A Lake County judge has refused to reduce the bond for a retired Chicago police officer accused of threatening officials investigating the death of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.

Joseph A. Battaglia, 54, of the 5600 block of West 103rd Street, Oak Lawn, remains held in Lake County jail on $100,000 bail while facing two felony counts of disorderly conduct.

If found guilty, he could be sentenced from one to three years in prison, officials said Tuesday. He could also receive probation.

Defense attorney Myron Goldstin told Judge Christen Bishop that Battaglia has surrendered his firearm owners identification card and a handgun to police. Bishop also ordered that Battaglia may not consume alcohol or drugs should he be able to post bail, and would have a curfew if released.

In arguing for a lower bond Tuesday, Goldstin said his client has no previous criminal record and served the Chicago Police Department for 25 years.

"It was stupid. It was wrong. He is not the type of person to threaten anyone," Goldstin said of the alleged threats. "He is not a risk to harm anyone."

Battaglia is accused of calling the Lake County coroner's office about 2 p.m. Friday after blocking his phone number to prevent his identity from being seen, authorities said.

He told the person who answered the phone he was a "retired police officer" and threatened to harm all of the members of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, other investigators, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd, and coroner's office employees, unless Gliniewicz's death was declared a suicide, authorities say.

Battaglia was arrested at his home Saturday, officials said.

"Any threat to anyone in this situation should be taken very seriously," said George Filenko, commander of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, who was among the people police say Battaglia threatened. "The threat just doesn't affect the police officers or officials involved in the investigation. It affects their families."

Goldstin described Battaglia as a person concerned with the investigation, and said he was trying to get more information released by the coroner and task force.

"It's a tense situation and information is coming out slow," Goldstin said. "As a former police officer, he wanted more information released."

Authorities say they are continuing to investigate Battaglia's telephone calls and additional charges are possible. Battaglia had no involvement in the investigation of Gliniewicz's death before the phone calls, officials said.

It's been two weeks since Gliniewicz, a 30-year police veteran, was found dead of a gunshot wound at the east end of Honing Road in Fox Lake, and investigators said they are continuing to search for three suspects.

Gliniewicz, 52, radioed a dispatcher that he saw three men - two white and one black - acting suspiciously at 7:52 a.m. Sept. 1, authorities said. He called back three minutes later saying the men ran into a swampy area and that he was in a foot chase and needed backup.

Officers from the Fox Lake Police Department found Gliniewicz shot about 14 minutes later and 50 yards from his vehicle.

Battaglia is due back in court for a preliminary hearing Oct. 6.

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