Father of man charged in Highland Park shooting makes statement with T-shirt before starting jail sentence

In the months after being charged with felony reckless conduct for helping his son obtain a FOID card, Robert Crimo Jr. largely refrained from making public statements.

But when he arrived at the Waukegan courthouse Wednesday morning to turn himself in to authorities and begin his jail sentence, he expressed his opinion wearing a T-shirt reading "I'm A Political Pawn" on the front and "LAWS FACTS REALITY" on the back.

Judge George Strickland ordered Crimo Jr. to turn the shirt inside out before the hearing, according to county officials.

George Gomez, Crimo Jr.'s attorney, declined to comment on the shirt and said he was not aware his client was going to wear it.

Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said Crimo Jr.'s actions make it clear he has zero remorse for his actions.

"Mr. Crimo has every constitutional right to remain silent," Rinehart said. "Now, he has spoken and instead of taking any responsibility, he has shown unbelievable callousness. This callousness will follow him into the jail and beyond; it will follow him everywhere."

Crimo Jr. agreed to a negotiated plea deal last Monday just before his trial was set to begin. In exchange for pleading guilty to seven counts of misdemeanor reckless conduct - one for each person killed in the July 4, 2022 mass shooting his son is accused of carrying out - Crimo Jr. got a 60-day jail sentence. He also will serve two years of probation, pay court costs, give up his FOID card and all of his weapons.

Crimo Jr. is expected to be in jail for only 30 days because of the state's "Day for Day" credit policy for nonviolent offenders, which effectively reduces sentences by half.

Gomez said during the hearing Strickland admonished Crimo Jr. about the shirt.

After the hearing, Crimo Jr. was taken to Lake County jail and processed, including getting a new mug shot taken while still wearing the inside-out T-shirt.

Lake County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli said the jail's policy is inmates who are family members are not housed in the same section together.

"Mr. Crimo Jr. will be treated like any other inmate that is remanded to the Lake County jail," Covelli said.

During processing Wednesday morning, the T-shirt and Crimo Jr.'s other possessions were taken by jail officials, who will return it to him upon the completion of his sentence, Covelli said.

Robert E. Crimo Jr., arrived at the Waukegan Courthouse Wednesday to start his 60-day jail sentence wearing a T-shirt bearing the message "I'm A Political Pawn" on the front. Associated Press
Robert Crimo Jr., pictured here when he turned himself in to authorities on Nov. 15 2023.
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