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Ex-Cop Finnigan Says He's Innocent of Murder-For-Hire Plot

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 21, 2012 8:48PM

Jerome Finnigan
Former Chicago cop and all-around good guy Jerome Finnigan is claiming he's innocent of the murder-for-hire plot he pleaded guilty to last year.

Finnigan was the real-life Vic Mackey at the center of a corruption scandal involving the Police Department's now-disbanded Special Operations Section. He admitted to taking part in five robberies that netted $600,000 between 2004 and 2005 from alleged drug dealers and others during illegal traffic stops by SOS members. Finnigan's take in the robberies was over $200,000. He pleaded guilty last year to tax evasion stemming from the robberies and the murder-for-hire plot last year. Finnigan spoke with Chicago writer Hillel Levin for a story in the April edition of Playboy where he disavows what he said last year and laid the blame on the murder-for-hire plot on his partner, Keith Herrera. (Herrera wore a wire to gather evidence that Finnigan was the mastermind of the plot.)

“To humor Herrera — and prevent him from acting on his threats — Finnigan says he pretended to contact a professional hit man to do the ‘paint job,’ a term he picked up from reading I Heard You Paint Houses, Charles Brandt’s book about the mobster who claimed to have killed Jimmy Hoffa,” wrote Hillel Levin, author of the Playboy story.

“Finnigan then told Herrera he got a quote of $40,000 for the job from the professional — a price he knew Herrera couldn’t afford,” Levin wrote.

“But Herrera wouldn’t let the scheme die. He claimed to have found his own contractor at a more reasonable price, and he asked Finnigan for a picture he had of [the target] that Herrera could show his hit man. They met at their local Walgreens and Finnigan handed it over.”

Two days later, on Sept. 26, 2007, Finnigan was arrested based on the information Herrera provided the FBI — as well as secret recordings he made of his conversations with Finnigan.

Federal prosecutors said it was Finnigan who contacted Herrera. He's serving a 13-year prison term in Florida