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Former Harold Washington Aide Sentenced to Prison

September 12, 1989

CHICAGO (AP) _ Clarence McClain, a former aide to the late Mayor Harold Washington, was sentenced Monday to eight years in prison for his conviction on mail fraud and racketeering charges.

U.S. District Judge Ilana Rovner handed down the sentence after an unusual hearing in which McClain took the stand himself and spent an hour castigating the prosecution and the news media.

Rovner also ordered McClain to pay $35,000 in restitution and sentenced him to five years’ probation.

McClain, who did not take the stand during the trial itself, accused federal prosecutors of and the media of suppressing video and audiotape evidence that he said would have cleared him.

McClain also said he would call for a congressional investigation of his prosecution, which was part of the FBI’s Operation Incubator probe of alleged corruption in city government.

McClain became so agitated during his speech that Ms. Rovner ordered a five-minute recess so he could calm down. Throughout his appearance, he kept handing the judge documents which he said would clear his name.

McClain was accused of accepting bribes from undercover FBI informant Michael Raymond and the president of a New York-based company in exchange for using his influence to make sure the company, Systematic Recovery Services, got a lucrative city contract for retrieving delinquent parking fines.

McClain was an aide to Washington when Washington was a state representative and a member of the Illinois congressional delegation, but was dismissed by the mayor shortly after his 1983 election when reports surfaced about McClain’s prior criminal record, which included a conviction for pandering.

McClain, nonetheless, reportedly told Raymond and others that he still had the ear of the mayor and could direct bribes in Washington’s direction.

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