Monday, October 26, 2020

Ex-Chicago official pleads not guilty in Senator Sandoval bribery case

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A former Chicago deputy aviation commissioner has pleaded not guilty to a federal bribery charge alleging he paid a former state senator at least $5,000 to support a road project.

William A. Helm entered the plea Tuesday during a brief arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan, who released him on his own recognizance, the Chicago Tribune reported.

A federal grand jury indicted Helm last week, accusing him of bribing former state Sen. Martin Sandoval in 2018 on behalf of an unidentified construction company.

The company recruited Helm and his consulting company to help win Illinois Department of Transportation approval for the suburban Chicago project, the indictment said. Sandoval chaired the Senate Transportation Committee.

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Sandoval in January pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in a separate case and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Helm at one time held a high-level position with the Department of Transportation.

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