Special prosecutor in Rudd case faces misconduct charges downstate

  • Thomas Rudd

    Thomas Rudd

 
 
Updated 9/7/2017 6:49 PM

The special prosecutor assigned to the perjury case against former Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd has been removed from the case following his indictment this week on charges stemming from his tenure as a state's attorney in downstate LaSalle County.

Brian Towne, 49, faces 13 counts of official misconduct and four counts of misapplication of funds, according to The Times newspaper based in Ottawa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The charges allege Towne used of more than $27,000 in public funds for a personal vehicle, home Wi-Fi and a training conference in Las Vegas while serving as La Salle County state's attorney, according to the LaSalle News Tribune.

All 90 of the cases Towne has been working through the Illinois Appellate Court prosecutor's office -- including the Rudd case in Lake County -- have been reassigned, Director Patrick Delfino said Thursday.

Rudd attorney Jed Stone said he will file a motion this week asking a court to require the prosecutor's office to give him the name of Towne's replacement.

"This only affects the case because I don't know who my opponent is," Stone said.

Stone last week dropped a request to have Towne taken off the Rudd case because of the investigation that led to Tuesday's indictment.

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Rudd, 70, of Lake Forest, faces five counts of perjury alleging he made false statements on nominating petitions filed as part of his unsuccessful 2016 re-election bid. He faces a maximum sentence of two to five years in prison if convicted, though probation also is possible.

Authorities say Rudd falsely stated under oath that he was present when people signed his petitions. Prosecutors allege 15 to 20 signatures on the petitions turned out to be false, and one name is that of a person who had been dead for more than a decade.

The appellate court prosecutor's office took one the investigation and prosecution of the case instead of the Lake County state's attorney's office to avoid any possible conflicts of interest, officials said.

Stone has long said the charges are "political payback" for controversial statements Rudd made while serving as coroner from 2012 to 2016.

Rudd remains free on $150,000 bail. His trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 23.

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