Former high-ranking employee of Dorothy Brown sentenced to 2 years in prison for derailing investigation
A former high-ranking employee of Dorothy Brown was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday after prosecutors said the worker helped derail a federal investigation into a job-buying scheme at the Cook County court clerk's office by lying to a grand jury.
A federal jury in April found Beena Patel guilty of three counts of perjury, and prosecutors have essentially blamed her for their inability to file criminal charges against Brown.
Before handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Sara Ellis told Patel that "combating public corruption is very important ... to me, lying in front of the grand jury, that's even more important."
She added that "none of this works" if people think they can get away with lying to the grand jury.
The judge also noted that "there is one person who is not here. And that would be the clerk of the court."
"She's not here to help you when you need help," the judge told Patel.
Patel's case opened the widest window so far into the investigation that led to the seizure of Brown's cellphone in October 2015, a move that nearly derailed Brown's political career. She overcame it and won reelection in 2016 anyway.
Brown has not been charged with a crime and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.
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