Perjury trial of former Lake County coroner delayed till October
Prosecutors say former Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd turned in more than 15 nominating petitions he knew contained false information ahead of his unsuccessful re-election bid last year.
The allegation is contained in court papers filed Wednesday by Illinois Appellate Court Prosecutor Brian Towne, who indicated he plans to introduce at Rudd's upcoming trial more than 15 pages containing phony petitions.
Rudd, 70, had been scheduled to face trial in July on five counts of perjury stemming from the petitions. But on Wednesday, Lake County Judge Victoria Rossetti agreed to postpone the trial to Oct. 23 after defense attorney Jed Stone asked for a delay, citing personal reasons.
The controversial former coroner could receive two to five years in prison if found guilty of perjury. Probation also would be possible for the Lake Forest resident, who is free after posting 10 percent of his $150,000 bail in February.
Towne is handling the case because of a potential conflict of interest with the Lake County state's attorney's office.
The perjury charges allege Rudd knowingly made false statements about the validity of his nominating petitions in December 2015. The nomination sheets were filed with the Lake County Clerk's Office, and Rudd said under oath the signatures were genuine and signed in his presence.
However, authorities say numerous petitions turned out to be false, and at least one sheet contained the signature of a person who had been dead for more than a decade.
Rudd initially filed to run as a Democrat in the March 2016 primary but withdrew his nominating papers after they were challenged. At the time, Rudd said he would not have enough signatures to remain on the ballot should the objections be upheld.
He later ran as a write-in candidate and lost in the November general election to Republican Howard Cooper.
Stone has previously stated the charges are "political payback" for controversial statements Rudd made while serving as coroner from 2012 to 2016.
The two sides are due back in court for a case management hearing Aug. 1.