A judge on Monday cleared former State Treasurer Dan Rutherford of the alleged political firings of three employees.
Rutherford said after court he is relieved by the judge's decision but described it as bittersweet because, at one point, the employees were his friends.
Three former aides said Rutherford retaliated against them for participating in an investigation of sexual harassment and political pressure.
The federal sexual harassment case, filed by another former staffer, is still pending.
Rutherford declined to offer a comment on the state of Illinois politics but said he might consider a small political office in the future.
Public records show the state of Illinois has already paid out more than half a million dollars in legal fees for Rutherford.