Chicago alderman pleads guilty in federal corruption case

Alderman Willie Cochran walks out of the Dirksen Federal Courthouse Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Chicago, after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud for spending money from a ward fund meant for charity on personal expenses. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — A prominent Chicago alderman who told a judge last year that he wasn’t going to accept a plea agreement that was planned for his federal corruption case has changed his mind again and pleaded guilty.

Alderman Willie Cochran entered his plea Thursday to one felony count of wire fraud for spending campaign funds on personal purchases including gambling and his daughter’s college tuition.

Federal prosecutors dropped 14 felony counts of wire fraud, extortion and bribery in exchange for the plea.

Cochran, a former police officer, can be placed on probation or receive a prison sentence of up to 1 ½ years under the terms of the plea.

With the plea, the Chicago Tribune reports that Cochran becomes the city’s 30th alderman since 1972 convicted of crimes related to official duties.

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