Longtime Ald. Edward Burke, one of Chicago’s most powerful figures and a vestige of the city’s old Democratic machine, has been charged with attempted extortion for allegedly using his position as alderman to corruptly solicit business for his private law firm.
The 37-page criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court comes five weeks after the FBI carried out a stunning raid on Burke’s City Hall office, working for hours behind windows covered with brown butcher paper before leaving down a back staircase with computers and files.
According to the one count, Burke in 2017 tried to extort a company that owns fast-food restaurants in the Chicago area and needed help with permits for a remodeling job.
The evidence includes numerous recorded calls from Burke’s cell phone as well as emails and other documents, according to the complaint, which was filed Wednesday and unsealed Thursday.