Special Prosecutor Says No Political Favoritism in Koschman Case

Dan Webb fights release of grand jury records

Should the grand jury files in the death of David Koschman be made public? The question is now before the Illinois Appellate Court in a case that captured headlines---and in 2014---sent the nephew of former mayor Richard Daley to jail.

Dan Webb, who served as the special prosecutor in the case, left no doubt in an interview how he feels.

“I mean grand jury proceedings are secret. And I’m not going to change the law in Illinois because the press wants to have access to information that they are not allowed to get in any other case,” Webb said.

Last year the Better Government Association asked that all investigative records be unsealed.

The decade long mystery of how David Koschman died is complete but other questions remain.

In 2004, the 21-year old from Mount Prospect was drinking on Division Street when an argument ensued and R.J. Vanecko—the nephew of then mayor Daley--- threw the single punch that ultimately ended Koschman’s life.

Nearly ten years later, Vanecko pled guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter and received a six-months sentence. It was attorney Dan Webb who got the conviction.

“The whole investigation in my mind was to find out what happened with David Koschman,” Webb said during the interview conducted at the law firm of Winston & Strawn where he serves as co-executive chairman.

In 2011, Chicago Sun-Times reporters Tim Novak and Chris Fusco, along with NBC5 News first raised questions about Koschman’s death, leading to Webb's appointment as special prosecutor and Vanecko's plea.

From the outset Nanci Koschman, David’s mother, believed no charges had been brought by Chicago police and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office because of Vanecko’s political lineage. Attorney's representing Nanci Koschman called it political clout.

Webb, in the interview, steadfastly denied any political consideration in his investigation.

“There was no one give any political privilege whatsoever. We took that investigation wherever it led, he said, “there was no evidence, that Mayor Daley or anyone else in the mayor’s office tried to influence the result of that case…I put it in my report. I stand by it.”

The city ultimately settled a wrongful death suit brought by Nanci Koschman for $250,000.

You know I spent a lot of time with David Koschman’s mother, okay,” Webb said. “I felt deeply about that case and about her right to find out the truth of what happened and not let that case go. I didn’t let it go.

In the BGA lawsuit, a lower court released some records and denied others. Both sides appealed and now await the decision of the Illinois Appellate Court.

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