Burge to Take Stand

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCChicago
    John Burge walks out of federal court after jury selection in his perjury trial.

    Former Chicago police commander Jon Burge will take the stand in his own defense during his perjury and obstruction-of-justice trial.

    Burge, who has been accused of torturing criminal suspects and lying about it in a civil lawsuit, will specifically testify that he was not at Area 2 headquarters when convicted cop killer Andrew Wilson said he was beaten and burned across a radiator in 1982, according to the Chicago Sun-Times   The newspaper cites Burge’s attorney, Marc Martin.

    The Chicago Tribune reports that U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, who is presiding over the perjury and obstruction trial, called Burge to the bench to question him about his decision and remind him of his right not to testify.

    "How are you holding up, Mr. Burge?" she asked.

    "Marvelously," Burge said.

    It was Wilson's claims of abuse that led to Burge's dismissal from the police department in 1993. Wilson died in prison in 2007, but his testimony was provided posthumously via court record last week.

    Defense attorneys opened their case on Wednesday in Federal court and are expected to call on police officers, assistant Cook County state’s attorneys and other officials that can testify that neither they nor Burge tortured any suspects in order to get a confessions out of them.

    Burge pleaded not guilty to perjury and obstruction of justice charges for allegedly lying in a civil lawsuit about taking part in tortures while in he was in command.

    Federal prosecutors rested their case Tuesday.  Five men who say the former commander tortured them in the 1970’s and 1980’s testified against Burge for the prosecution.