Midwest Correspondent
Fiona's Feed
Jul 21, 2015

U.S. appeals court vacates some convictions of former Illinois Governor Blagojevich

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court said on Tuesday it had vacated five out of 18 criminal convictions against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who is serving a 14-year sentence for attempted extortion from campaign contributors, wire fraud and other crimes.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed 13 counts, ordered a retrial on the other five counts and said Blagojevich, 58, was not entitled to be released from federal prison during the new trial because his sentence is already below the recommended length of time for the convictions that were upheld.

Jul 16, 2015

Poor, nonviolent inmates benefit from U.S. bail reform push

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Accused of stealing a $240 surveillance camera, Edward has been sitting in Chicago’s Cook County Jail for four months awaiting trial.

The 45-year-old handyman from Gary, Indiana, who has a history of retail and auto theft and drug possession, cannot pay a $3,000 bail bond. But circumstances for Edward and many others like him are about to change.

Jul 13, 2015

Man charged in death of Chicago baby after rapper killed

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A Chicago man was arrested on Monday and charged in the death of a 13-month-old boy who was killed by a car that was allegedly fleeing the scene of the gang-related murder of Chicago rapper Capo on Saturday, police said.

Antoine Watkins, 21, was due in bond court on Monday on charges of murder and attempting to elude police, the Chicago Police Department said in a statement.

Jul 11, 2015

Presidential hopeful Cruz blasts N.Y. Times for keeping book off bestseller list

By Fiona Ortiz

(Reuters) – Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz says his book “A Time for Truth” is a legitimate bestseller and on Friday challenged the New York Times to prove its contention that the tome’s high sales were due to bulk buying.

In a statement on his campaign website, the Texas senator said the New York Times should apologize or release evidence of its analysis. He said he was being kept off the bestseller list because the newspaper is politically biased against him.

Jul 10, 2015

Lenient sentence for Beanie Babies billionaire stands

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A lenient sentence for the billionaire
creator of Beanie Babies, a self-made businessman who was
convicted of hiding $5.6 million in taxes, was upheld on Friday
by a federal appeals court.

The Department of Justice wanted jail time for Ty Warner,
70, and asked the Seventh Circuit Court to vacate a lighter
sentence imposed by a district court judge. U.S. prosecutors
filed the appeal in February 2014.

Jul 7, 2015

Groups sue Chicago suburbs for more gun control

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A group of civil rights activists on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against three Chicago suburbs to force them to take stricter gun-control measures to stem the flow of weapons into the city’s crime-ridden neighborhoods.

The complaint filed in Cook County Circuit Court against the towns of Riverdale, Lyons and Lincolnwood said gunshops there, along with stores in Gary, Indiana, supply a fifth of guns seized by police at crime scenes in the city.

Jul 6, 2015

Chicago’s Fourth of July rituals: fireworks, gun deaths

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Late in the evening on July 4 a haze of smoke from backyard fireworks hung over Chicago. Like kids all over the city, 7-year-old Amari Brown stood on the sidewalk enjoying the show -

until the staccato burst of explosives turned into gunfire.

Brown was hit when a man ran around the corner and shot at his group in an apparent gang-related attack. He was rushed to the hospital in his father’s arms and died two hours later.

Jul 2, 2015

Illinois mired in uncertainty over budget

SPRINGFIELD/CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) – Illinois blew through a budget deadline this week, and now the state faces court battles over spending and a political standoff between rookie Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and veteran Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, who has dominated state politics for three decades.

Rauner said he can soften the impact of a looming government shutdown and continue paying state workers on time and in full. Democrats said there are strict limits on what the governor can spend without a budget that has been approved.

Jul 1, 2015

Illinois House fails to pass an emergency spending bill

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, July 1 (Reuters) – Illinois’
Democrat-controlled House failed to pass an emergency $2.26
billion one-month spending bill on Wednesday as a budget impasse
threatens a state government shutdown.

The Senate did pass an identical bill on Wednesday, which
will move to the House next week for a vote. However, Republican
Governor Bruce Rauner has signaled he will veto the bill if it
gets through both chambers. He is calling for pro-business
reforms that he says will help the economy, before he will
approve a budget.

Jul 1, 2015

Illinois governor increases budget pressure, grounds shuttle planes

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Reuters) – Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner on Wednesday increased pressure on lawmakers unwilling to adopt his pro-business reforms as the state began its new fiscal year without a budget.

The Republican governor followed through on his plan to ground the state airplane shuttle between Chicago and Springfield, forcing some Chicago area lawmakers to find other ways to make the 195-mile trip home. He also used an amendatory veto to remove legislators’ salary hikes ranging from $1,356 to $1,905 in fiscal 2016, noting a similar provision eliminating raises was incorporated into other recent state budgets.

    • About Fiona

      "Fiona Ortiz is a general news correspondent for Reuters Americas based in Chicago and covering the Midwest. Previously, she was Reuters' chief correspondent in Madrid, where she covered political and economic news and ran a bureau of some 25 correspondents who wrote about everything from the debt crisis to sports. Fiona has been with Reuters since 1996 and has had assignments in Guatemala, Mexico, Chile and Argentina."
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