(The Center Square) – Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s longtime chief of staff was sentenced Monday to 2.5 years in prison after he was convicted of lying to a grand jury about Madigan’s inner circle.
Tim Mapes, 69, served for decades under Madigan as the clerk of the Illinois House and as Madigan’s chief of staff. In August 2023, a federal jury found Mapes guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice for lying to a grand jury investigating Madigan and others.
U.S. District Court Judge John Kness sentenced Mapes to 30 months in prison.
“Mr. Mapes was very aware of what was going on,” Kness said. “This was a serious offense. There’s no way around it, you lied to the grand jury.”
Kness said he didn’t understand why Mapes lied to the grand jury when he had been granted immunity to testify truthfully. If it was loyalty to Madigan, Kness said such loyalty was misplaced.
Kness called the case a sad one.
“I believe very much that you are a good man,” the judge said. “I think you were probably an outstanding chief of staff. I think you tried very hard to keep the trains running on time.”
The judge said the state’s history of public corruption has been well-documented. Kness said that history couldn’t be ignored.
“The people of this state cry out for accountability,” Kness said. “Accountability is absolutely necessary in this case.”
Prosecutors wanted Mapes to spend up to five years in prison to send a message to Springfield about his conduct. Defense attorneys have asked for Mapes to be sentenced to time served.
Mapes’ defense team said he was a loyal public servant who worked to make Illinois a better place. His defense also pointed to 130 letters written by supporters. His defense team previously asked that those letters be sealed from public view. Prosecutors objected to that request, noting that many of the letter writers were elected officials or former elected officials.
“If there is any case for which public disclosure is warranted and appropriate, it is this one, given the interplay between the defendant’s status as a public official and the nature of the underlying grand jury investigation,” prosecutors argued in a filing Sunday night.
Kness said the case was a public matter and the public has a right to know who wrote letters on behalf of Mapes. However, he didn’t make a decision on the matter Monday. He asked both sides review the letters for potential redactions of parts of some of the letters. The judge said some letters could be redacted in their entirety.
According to the indictment, Mapes acted as a courier exchanging messages between Madigan and former state Rep. Michael McClain, who worked as a lobbyist for Commonwealth Edison after retiring from the House. The indictment alleged that Mapes lied to the grand jury when asked about Madigan’s relationship with McClain, even though Mapes had been granted immunity to testify truthfully.
Defense attorney Andrew Porter said Mapes “wasn’t in the room” when the alleged crimes involving Madigan occurred. Porter said Mapes was found guilty for lying in seven responses to more than 600 questions. Porter said Mapes was “an uncommonly good man.”
“He didn’t know what they were doing and he told the grand jury that,” Porter said.
Prosecutors called Mapes’ lies a brazen attempt to protect Madigan and McClain. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Schwartz said Mapes was in the room “where it happened,” continuing the defense’s reference to the play “Hamilton.” They also said Mapes has blamed the government for his conviction rather than his own actions when testifying with immunity.
“Mr. Mapes lied. He was convicted of lying. And those lies matter,” Schwartz said. “He chose loyalty over respecting the oath he took. … He chose to lie. The sentence in this case does have to send to a message.”
She said the sentence should send a message to politicians in Springfield.
Mapes, dressed in a blue suit and burgundy tie, spoke briefly at Monday’s sentencing hearing. He said he was humble and remorseful. He apologized for the toll the case had taken on his family. He also said they he realized many people in Illinois have lost faith in government.
“It is contrary to everything I have tried to do in my career and brings me sorrow,” Mapes said.
His voice broke several times as he spoke.
Mapes was fired from his position under Madigan in 2018 after public allegations of harassment against colleagues. An inspector general in 2019 said Mapes should never be allowed to work for state government again.
ComEd, the state’s largest utility, agreed to pay $200 million in July 2020 to resolve a criminal investigation into the years-long bribery scheme. As part of a deferred prosecution agreement, ComEd admitted it arranged jobs, vendor subcontracts and payments in a bid to influence Madigan.
Madigan served in the Illinois House from 1971 to 2021. He served as speaker of the Illinois House from 1983 to 1995 and again from 1997 to 2021. He wielded additional power as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Madigan, who resigned after losing the House speakership in January 2021, has been charged with 23 counts of racketeering, bribery and official misconduct in a separate case, along with McClain, that could go to trial in October 2024. He has pleaded not guilty.