Sandoval pleads guilty to bribery, tax charges

  • Martin Sandoval

    Martin Sandoval

Updated 1/29/2020 12:13 AM

At the time a powerful state senator, Martin Sandoval said in a 2018 restaurant meeting in Burr Ridge that he was going all out for a red-light camera company in return for thousands of dollars in bribes but complained others were getting a sweet deal in "consulting fees" from the business.

"So why don't I get that offer?" Sandoval griped to an investor in the company who was secretly working for federal investigators.


In all, Sandoval took about $250,000 in bribes from the red-light camera company, identified in court as SafeSpeed, and others, according to a plea agreement he entered into Tuesday in federal court in Chicago.

In a move guaranteed to send shock waves through political circles from Springfield to Chicago, Sandoval indicated that he will be cooperating with federal investigators in their ongoing, widespread investigation of political corruption, which includes SafeSpeed, ComEd and other entities, and that has ensnared other prominent state Democrats.

Sandoval pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery and a tax charge. The plea marks the first conviction in the massive federal investigation.

Like many disgraced politicians before him, Sandoval followed up his guilty plea by telling reporters in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse he was "deeply ashamed." He resigned from the Senate effective Jan. 1.

This report was produced in partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times. For related coverage, visit

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