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Grand Jury To Investigate David Koschman Death

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 18, 2012 7:00PM

2012_4_6_koschman.jpg Former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb announced Wednesday he’s empaneled a grand jury to investigate the 2004 death of David Koschman. Koschman died from injuries sustained from a punch by Richard “R.J.” Vanecko, a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, during an altercation on Division Street. Vanecko was never charged with Koschman’s death. Webb was appointed by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin in April to investigate Koschman’s death and the handling of the investigation by the Chicago Police Department and Cook County State’s Attorney’s office.

Webb made his announcement as he left court this morning on behalf of another of his clients, Springfield power broker William Cellini, and wouldn’t comment on the grand jury appointment or the Koschman investigation any further. Toomin issued an order in June sealing the Koschman case, which means Webb’s legal bills and grand jury subpoenas will not be made public.

A grand jury can enable Webb and his staff to bring witnesses to testify in the case and subpoena documents related to the case. They’ll likely need it, judging from all the interference Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s office has provided since the Sun-Times and NBC 5 first started reporting on the Koschman case last year. Alvarez has long contended there was no need for a special prosecutor and that her office was capable of conducting its own investigation.

Toomin, in his ruling that paved the way for Webb’s appointment, disagreed. “This is not a whodunit,” he said in April. “We know who did it. We have a known offender and yet no charges.” Webb has a reputation as a thorough and dogged investigator. He was the lead prosecutor in the "Operation Greylord" investigations into Cook County judicial corruption in the mid-80s that led to the indictment of 92 people, including 17 judges, 48 lawyers, 10 deputy sheriffs, eight policemen, eight court officials, and state legislator James DeLeo. 15 of those judges were convicted. Webb was also responsible for successfully prosecuting retired Admiral John Poindexter in the Iran-Contra affair.