Judge allows some text messages between Gliniewicz, widow during trial
Some text messages between Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz and wife can be introduced as evidence during her trial on charges related to the theft of funds from the Fox Lake police Explorer youth program, a Lake County judge ruled Wednesday.
Judge James Booras said text messages obtained through a data extraction of Melodie Gliniewicz's phone will be allowed at trial because she signed a waiver that authorized law enforcement to retrieve that data. Any messages obtained through the data extraction of the late Charles Gliniewicz's phone will remain blocked by marital privilege laws, Booras ruled.
"We are pleased with the court's ruling," defense attorney Don Morrison said after the hearing.
Prosecutors said text messages deemed not admissible at trial involve several between the couple in March and April 2015 that were discovered during a data extraction of Charles Gliniewicz's phone but were not found in Melodie Gliniewicz's phone.
Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Ken LaRue did not say in court that Melodie Gliniewicz intentionally deleted those messages, only that they "do not exist on her phone."
"We have what was in her phone, but not what was deleted," LaRue said. "If she intentionally deleted those text messages, she should not be allowed to profit from them."
Morrison said the state had no evidence she deleted text messages.
"She doesn't have to come up with an explanation on why they aren't there," he said. "They just aren't there."
Melodie Gliniewicz, 53, of Antioch Township, has pleaded not guilty to felony unlawful use of charitable funds, conspiracy and money laundering. Authorities allege she helped her husband misuse thousands of dollars stolen from the Fox Lake police Explorer youth program.
She could be sentenced to a maximum seven years in prison if found guilty of the charges at trial.
The text messages between Melodie and Charles Gliniewicz are the crux of the case for prosecutors, who allege Melodie Gliniewicz conspired with her husband to misuse money earmarked for the Explorer post.
Morrison has routinely argued text messages and emails between the husband and wife are protected under Illinois marital privilege laws. Those laws allow that confidential communications remain protected to ensure spouses can communicate to each other without fear of disclosure in court.
Booras initially barred using all communications between the couple at trial in 2017, ruling they were protected by marital privilege.
But in 2018, a state appeals court ordered Booras reconsider the matter after prosecutors produced a waiver signed by Melodie Gliniewicz, giving law enforcement permission to inspect her phone.
Booras acknowledged the waiver, and Morrison agreed that data on Melodie's phone could be introduced at trial.
Authorities say Charles Gliniewicz stole thousands of dollars from the Explorer post and, with his wife, used those funds to pay for a trip to Hawaii, movie tickets, pornography websites and more than 400 restaurant charges.
The allegations surfaced after Charles Gliniewicz was found shot to death in a secluded area of Fox Lake on Sept. 1, 2015. Investigators initially believed he died in the line of duty but later determined he killed himself and made it appear as if he'd been gunned down.
The trial is set for July 1.