News Local/State

Judge Rules Against Casinos In Blago-Linked Case


A judge in a long-running civil case has ruled against casinos that claimed Illinois legislators passed laws helping competitors in the racetrack industry under pressure from then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Federal Judge Matthew Kennelly says there's no evidence lawmakers imposed a tax on casinos, with proceeds going to racetracks, only after Blagojevich sought donations from racetracks.

Blagojevich is serving a 14-year prison term for corruption, including for bribery conspiracy for attempting to extort racetrack owner John Johnston.  Johnston is a defendant in the related civil case.

A lawyer for Johnston, William McKenna, Jr., on Tuesday welcomed the 17-page ruling. He says it should end the four-year legal saga.

Plaintiffs have a month to decide whether to appeal the ruling, which was posted late Monday. The casinos' attorney, Robert Andalman, declined comment.