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Burge Wraps Testimony

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jun 22, 2010 2:40PM

Testimony in the Jon Burge trial continued on Monday with Burge himself wrapping up his own appearance on the witness stand. During Monday's cross-examination by prosecutor David Weisman, Weisman brought up a 1982 incident in which Burge is alleged to have pointed his gun at the back of an unpopular Area 2 detective, Frank Laverty, an incident about which another retired police officer gave sworn testimony in 2004. Weisman also grilled Burge over the name of his private boat, "Vigilante," suggesting it was because Burge took pride in his interrogation tactics, an accusation Burge flatly denied. Weisman also went after Burge on the 1982 interrogation of Andrew Wilson in which there was a 12-hour delay between when Wilson confessed and when a court-reporter was sent in to officially record it. From the Tribune:

Weisman honed in on the delay, suggesting to the jury that Burge knew he could wait because he and his detectives had so tormented Wilson with beatings, electric shocks and radiator burns that he wouldn't dare retract his confession.

"You were confident that Andrew Wilson was going to keep talking," Weisman said.

"I had no idea what Mr. Wilson was going to do," Burge replied. "We had such a good case against him at that point that a written statement was just icing on the cake."

Burge concluded his testimony and the defense then called another key witness, convicted armed robber Ricky Shaw who testified that Melvin Jones, one of Burge's alleged victims, admitted to Shaw that he had made up his torture story. Said Shaw, "He said he was never abused. He never got electroshocked, but that there were other people who had already made the claims. He said he had lawyers and everybody was dying to get on the case, that there were movie deals and book deals." Weisman tried to undermine Shaw's credibility by listing previous incidents in which Shaw had lied to corrections officials. Former Cook County State's Attorney Paul Kayman also testified, saying the alleged torture victim who's confession he recorded showed no signs of torture.

The defense chould rest its case by the end of the week, paving the way for the rebuttal stage of the trial. In the meantime, we highly recommend this piece from John Conroy, covering the trial for WBEZ/Voclao, that explores Lawrence (Larry) Hyman, the assistant state’s attorney who took Wilson’s confession, and why we won't hear testimony from him as well as the impact it would have.