Judge withdraws from Melodie Gliniewicz case

A Lake County judge has withdrawn from the high-profile Melodie Gliniewicz criminal case due to a possible conflict of interest.

Judge Victoria Rossetti pulled herself from the case, stating she wanted to avoid the appearance of impropriety due to the potential conflict of interest, Lake County Assistant State's Attorney Scott Turk said Monday.

It's unknown what the conflict of interest is, Turk said. The case has been shifted to Lake County Judge James Booras.

In response, defense attorney Donald Morrison said he is preparing a motion to vacate Rossetti's previous ruling that rejected a request to dismiss charges filed against Melodie Gliniewicz, 51, of Antioch Township. Morrison said he expects Booras to hear that dismissal argument when the sides return to court Sept. 21.

Melodie Gliniewicz faces felony counts of conspiracy, unlawful use of charitable funds for personal gain, and money laundering. If found guilty of all charges at trial, she could be sentenced to a maximum seven years in prison, authorities said. The charges are also probationable.

She was charged after an investigation into her deceased husband - Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz - showed they had been using money donated to the Fox Lake Law Enforcement Explorer Post 300 for their own purposes, authorities said. Authorities said Joe Gliniewicz staged his suicide as a murder last September because he feared those thefts would be uncovered.

Investigators found inconsistencies in financial documents involving Joe Gliniewicz while investigating his death. Money from the Explorer fund was used to pay for a trip to Hawaii, many coffee shop purchases, tickets for the Fox Lake Theatre, and more than 400 restaurant charges, authorities have said.

Melodie Gliniewicz was a citizen adviser for the post, authorities said. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges and her attorneys have denied any wrongdoing.

Her trial is scheduled Nov. 14.

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