In last-minute reversal, former Sen. Sam McCann pleads guilty to corruption charges

In last-minute reversal, former Sen. Sam McCann pleads guilty to corruption charges

Capitol News Illinois
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This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

As federal prosecutors were preparing to rest their case Thursday in the corruption trial of former Republican state Sen. Sam McCann, the one-time gubernatorial candidate had a change of heart.

His attorney announced McCann would reverse his position of innocence he’s had since being indicted three years ago and plead guilty on all counts.

In the trial that kicked off Tuesday, prosecutors accused McCann of “greed, fraud and arrogance” in illegally using campaign funds for personal expenses, including paying two mortgages, financing multiple vehicles and vacations, fraudulently cutting himself checks for work not performed, and double-dipping on reimbursement for miles driven.

Prosecutors estimate McCann stole “in excess of $550,000” from campaign coffers in addition to committing money laundering and tax evasion in order to conceal his theft.

On Wednesday and Thursday, prosecutors played more than three hours of recordings made by federal agents who met with McCann on separate occasions in 2018.

McCann’s trial had been delayed on numerous occasions, including in November when he fired his legal team and decided to represent himself, and last week when he was admitted to a St. Louis hospital for an undisclosed health issue. U.S. District Judge Colleen Lawless ordered McCann detained last week after he disobeyed her direct orders to communicate with the federal probation office after getting discharged. He’s been in the Macon County Jail since Friday.

The case was also delayed one more day on Monday when McCann dropped his plan to represent himself and allowed a court-appointed attorney to defend him.

On Thursday afternoon, Lawless took McCann’s guilty plea and scheduled his sentencing for June.


Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of newspapers, radio and TV stations statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.



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