Calling the conduct of the Cook County state’s attorney’s office an “absolute disgrace,” Illinois Judge Alfredo Maldonado said on Thursday that a special prosecutor will be appointed to investigate potential wrongdoing at the prosecutor’s office in the case of Jackie Wilson, convicted in 1982 of killing a police officer, according to the Chicago Tribune. Wilson’s conviction was thrown out in 2018 after lengthy legal proceedings about allegations of torture by officers connected to the ex Chicago police Commander Jon Burge. The special prosecutor could assemble a grand jury to investigate potential wrongdoing and eventually bring criminal charges.
The focus of the investigation is former assistant state’s attorney Nick Trutenko and his handling of a central witness in the case against Wilson: William Coleman, who testified in 1989 that Wilson confessed the murder to him when they were locked up together in Cook County Jail. Coleman was reported later to be a conman and a fraud. Trutenko, one of the lead prosecutors in the 1989 trial, said during recent proceedings he was a friend of Coleman’s and kept in touch with him. It was later established that Trutenko’s testimony was false. He was fired and Wilson was freed. Wilson’s attorney has charged there was a larger attempted cover-up of Trutenko’s actions in the prosecutor’s office.