Daley nephew Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, left, with attorney Thomas Breen after an earlier hearing. | Sun-Times file photo

Daley nephew Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko, left, with attorney Thomas Breen after an earlier hearing. | Sun-Times file photo

Vanecko lawyer: Don’t release report

Published Oct. 17, 2013

By Stefano Esposito
Staff Reporter

Unsealing the special prosecutor’s report in the death of David Koschman would violate Richard J. “R.J.” Vanecko’s right to a fair trial, a lawyer for the nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley argued Thursday.

Attorney Thomas Breen told Cook County Circuit Judge Michael P. Toomin that making special prosecutor Dan K. Webb’s report public would make it hardert to find impartial jurors for Vanecko’s involuntary manslaughter trial next year in Koschman’s 2004 death.

“Why should we now throw something else into that difficult procedure?” Breen told Toomin.

Locke Bowman, an attorney for Koschman’s mother Nanci Koschman, countered that Toomin should release the report Webb filed last month detailing the findings of his 17-month investigation of the Mount Prospect man’s death after a drunken encounter in the Rush Street area with Daley’s nephew and also of the investigations that followed. Bowman said the mother has a right to know details of the investigations into her son’s death.

“As a mother, it is a deep personal concern to know this and know it as soon as possible,” Bowman told Toomin.

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The judge had said last week he wanted to hear from the attorneys before deciding whether to unseal the report by the former U.S. attorney, who also examined the conduct of police and prosecutors and decided last month not to charge anyone other than Vanecko. Toomin didn’t say Thursday when he will announce his ruling.

The Chicago Sun-Times and WMAQ-Channel 5 filed motions last week seeking to unseal the 162-page report. Damon Dunn, an attorney for the news organizations, told Toomin Thurday other steps could be taken to ensure Vanecko gets a fair trail — including moving the trial to another county.

Webb told Toomin Thursday he’s also concerned about the possibility of releasing secret grand jury testimony.

Talking about the report, the judge said, “There’s a good deal of material regarding Mr. Vanecko — more than what interested onlookers have conjectured.”

Email: sesposito@suntimes.com
Twitter: @sesposito
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DOCUMENTS
Emergency Motion of Sun-Times Media, LLC and NBC Subsidiary (WMAQ-TV) LLC to Intervene with Respect to Sealing of Records
Notice of Emergency Motion to Intervene
Memo in Support of Motion to Intervene