Defendants in Bianchi suit want case dismissed
A federal judge could decide in early July if defendants in a $15 million lawsuit filed by McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi should be dismissed from the case and the case essentially thrown out of court.
Bianchi, a Crystal Lake Republican, was acquitted twice last year of misconduct charges and later sued special prosecutors Henry Tonigan and Thomas McQueen and a computer forensic firm alleging conspiracy, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unreasonable search and seizure and violation of due process.
Tonigan and McQueen have filed motions to be dismissed from the lawsuit, arguing that Bianchi's claims are "barred by absolute immunity, qualified immunity, and/or Illinois State statutory and common law immunity and privilege," according to court records.
Tonigan also wants to have his employer, the laws firm Kelleher & Buckley, removed as a defendant in the case as well.
"There is simply no allegation that Kelleher & Buckley acted knowingly or with a deliberate, reckless indifference to the alleged constitutionally prohibited conduct of its employee," part of the motion to dismiss states.
A message left for Steven Puiszis, who is the defense attorney for McQueen, was not returned.
Michael Hannigan, the lead defense attorney for Tonigan, also could not be reached on Tuesday.
Quest Consultants, a computer forensic firm hired by the special prosecutors, and five of its employees also seek removal from the lawsuit, citing immunity, court records show.
Federal Judge Elaine E. Bucklo is scheduled to rule on the motions on July 3.
A special grand jury indicted Bianchi and his personal secretary, Joyce Synek, in September 2010 on charges they used county resources and personnel to further Bianchi's re-election campaign. A judge stopped the trial halfway through citing a lack of evidence; Bianchi and Synek were acquitted on all charges.
Bianchi and two of his investigators, Ronald Salgado and Michael McCleary, also were charged with misconduct in February 2011.
Salgado and McCleary were removed from the case before a trial in August 2011 that again was stopped midway through because of lack of evidence against Bianchi. The allegations were that Bianchi used his position to lessen criminal penalties to distant relatives and had charges dismissed for those politically connected to him.
Synek, Salgado and McCleary also are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, which seeks $15 million in damages.
Terry Ekl, who represented Bianchi in the two criminal trials and filed the lawsuit on his behalf, could not be reached for comment.