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Emanuel Defends Daley's Legal Fees, Decries Burge Pension

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During a morning press conference, the Mayor says it's the city's obligation to pay for the defense of its former mayor.

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The City of Chicago should cover the legal bills of former mayor Richard Daley in his fight against testifying at a civil case for convicted former police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

But the city should cease paying Burge's pension.

So says Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who's caught between a political rock and a hard place in the case of his former boss and the torturous commander.

“We have an obligation, as a city, to pay for that legal representation. That said, [I intend to] make sure that the dollars spent are being watched over and not being reckless and running up unnecessary legal bills,” Emanuel said at an unrelated event. "I won’t comment on the case. You have an ongoing case. It would be inappropriate for me to speak on it. [But] we have an obligation, as a city, given the professional work that they did during that time. But we’re not gonna be reckless and let the meter run legally on that.”

The comments stem from a request for a videotaped deposition of Daley that would require him  speak as to what he did or didn't know about police department abuse during his tenure as mayor.

A federal jury in 2010 convicted Burge of perjury and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors said Burge lied in a civil court case when asked if he knew of the torture. Burge is currently serving his 4.5-year sentence in North Carolina.

Federal Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer accepted part an argument for the deposition of Daley -- filed by lawyer Flint Taylor -- saying: "The court concludes Plaintiff has presented more than 'naked assertions,' and his conspiracy claim survives."

That ruling opened the door for Daley to become a sworn witness.

Burge has already been deposed, from prison.

According to Taylor, the city and county have spent approximately $50 million in court cases defending Burge.

And it’s not over.

There are currently six civil lawsuits pending against Burge and the city, including defendant Richard Daley.

A federal criminal investigation also continues.

On the other side of the coin is controversy over the fact that Burge still draws a pension from the city. Attorney General Lisa Madigan is working to strip him of that privelege, and Emanuel said he agrees with her efforts.

"When you’re convicted of a crime, and I’m not talking about a speeding ticket, I’m talking about something that deals with you professionally , you’ve lost the benefits associated with that because you’ve dishonored the office,” Emanuel said at the press conference.

The Chicago Pension Board, not the Chicago Police Department, continued Burge's pension.

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