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Prosecutor wants Maggette convicted of more charges amid suppressed evidence

Dashonn Maggette

Despite a sealed document that reportedly clears Dashonn Maggette of felony crimes, a prosecutor in the case told a Cook County judge she wants to retry the wrongfully convicted man on serious charges after a trial that resulted in a hung jury and partial mistrial.

The case involves Maggette and Chicago Police officers Patrick Forbes and Michael Hudson. The three had a fight in an apartment building in Chatham in 2017. The officers claimed Maggette had a 9 mm gun but with little to no evidence, changing stories and a sealed ballistics test report that reportedly ruled out that allegation. There is concern the officers framed Maggette by planting a gun on him.

Hudson was shot in the hand during the encounter. Maggette was shot twice and at one point was on life support. He was arrested and locked up in the Cook County Jail.

Six years later, Maggette, 38, was convicted in a trial that was later called a “coverup” by a jury foreman.

Confused jurors were kept unaware of a sealed document that reportedly said Maggette had no gun during the fight with Forbes and Hudson.

Of the five offenses he was charged with, the 12-member jury, which included just one Black person, convicted Maggette of being an armed habitual criminal and also criminal battery of an officer.

As for the remaining three charges, a partial mistrial was declared after some jurors were not convinced that Maggette was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of attempted murder of a police officer, aggravated battery with a firearm and aggravated discharge of a firearm.

But on Wednesday, February 21, Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Spizzirri told Cook County Circuit Court Judge Nicholas Kantas, “it is the State’s intention to go forward with those other charges,” which a jury failed to convict Maggette of on June 30, 2023.

If convicted again, Maggette will never see outside of jail. So far, Maggette could get up to 30 years in prison after being convicted of the first two offenses, of being an armed habitual criminal and also battery of Officer Forbes.

Questions remain why Spizzirri is moving forward to retry Maggette on the other charges, with scant evidence, after a botched week-long trial where Maggette’s attorney was overruled numerous times, while hearsay from one of the prosecution’s witnesses was admitted as evidence.

There are also questions as to whether Spizzirri will be able to produce new evidence to convince jurors this time around that Maggette is guilty of the three remaining charges.

Neither Maggette’s fingerprints nor those of the officers were taken from the 9 mm gun that Maggette allegedly had during the scuffle.

Hudson and Forbes gave different testimonies in court than what they gave to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA).

The judge who presided over the trial, Lawrence Flood, is a former Chicago Police officer who sealed access to a ballistics report from the Crusader and other media, when he learned it reportedly ruled out that Maggette had a gun.

After rushing a week-long trial riddled with police bias and alleged partiality toward prosecutors, Flood retired from the bench after 22 years when the Crusader began reporting on Maggette’s case.

After Maggette was convicted, a jury foreman called the trial a “coverup.” The foreman was summoned back to court where he repeated statements he made, detailed in an exclusive   article that reported on the verdict.

The key ballistics report that could clear Maggette remains sealed under Judge Nicholas Kantas. In September, the Crusader filed a petition to unseal the document as part of its efforts to investigate the credibility of the police officers, both of whom have civil rights complaints on their records.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Judge Kantas did not rule on the petition but will decide at an April 8 hearing after he receives written responses from Spizzirri and Karin Talwar, Maggette’s public defender.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Spizzirri said she was against the Crusader’s petition to unseal the document; however, she expressed concern about Crusader Attorney Charles Snowden’s way of obtaining the Illinois State Police report, which includes the ballistics test results that reportedly rule out Maggette having a gun during the fight. Spizzirri then said her office plans to try Maggette on the other charges that resulted in a hung jury.

Sources told the Crusader that Maggette had finally obtained through a FOIA request a hard copy of the ballistics report that Judge Flood sealed. Sources also said weeks after Maggette obtained the report, he complained that jail authorities confiscated his report, claiming that it was contaminated with aroma from perfume.

Talwar has filed a motion for a new trial based on ballistics evidence, Hudson and Forbes’ “inconsistent statements,” and the number of witnesses who were impeached with credibility issues.

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