Testimony stage of Cook County judge's trial begins

Updated 2/6/2018 9:52 PM

CHICAGO -- The testimony stage in the fraud trial of a Cook County judge accused of lying to obtain mortgages for Chicago investment properties has begun.

Attorneys for Judge Jessica O'Brien and the U.S. attorney's office delivered opening statements Tuesday in Chicago federal court.

Prosecutor Matthew Madden said the 50-year-old lied and concealed relevant facts from lenders to obtain more than $1.4 million in mortgages. The alleged schemes occurred before O'Brien became a judge. The mortgages were obtained for properties she purchased and sold. She allegedly pocketed $325,000 in the fraud.

Defense attorney Ricardo Meza said his client made mistakes that weren't intentional. And he added that "mistakes are not fraud."

O'Brien was reassigned to administrative duties after her 2017 indictment. If convicted, she'd be forced to step down from the bench.

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