A veteran attorney in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration resigned hours after a federal judge ruled Monday that he intentionally concealed crucial evidence in a trial over a fatal Chicago police shooting and then lied about his reasons for doing so.
The abrupt departure of Senior Corporation Counsel Jordan Marsh, who has worked for the city since 1997, was the latest black eye for the mayor’s office in the continuing fallout over the city’s handling of police shootings.
In overturning the jury’s verdict in a lawsuit brought by the family of Darius Pinex, U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang imposed sanctions against the city and Marsh, ordering that they pay attorney’s fees to plaintiffs that likely will amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars even before a retrial can take place.
“Attorneys who might be tempted to bury late-surfacing information need to know that, if discovered, any verdict they win will be forfeit and their clients will pay the price,” Chang wrote in his 72-page opinion. “They need to know it is not worth it.”
Chang faulted lax training and oversight at the city’s Law Department for hampering the production of records from the Chicago Police Department and other city agencies when officers are accused of misconduct.
Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton said Monday night that the city would “double down” on its efforts to properly train lawyers to produce records. He rejected the notion that recent sanctions pointed to systemic problems in his office.
“To say this is a practice, a systemic abuse or part of a cover-up, there’s just no evidence of that,” Patton said. “There’s nothing in the ruling to support it.”