The Latest: Lawyer denies state senator embezzled from union

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on indictment of Illinois state senator’s indictment on embezzlement charges(all times local):

1:25 p.m.

An attorney for an Illinois state senator says his client is not guilty of the federal embezzlement charges that prosecutors announced.

John Theis says in a written statement that state Sen. Tom Cullerton was charged as the result of “false claims” made by a former Teamsters official who days ago pleaded guilty as part of an agreement that calls for him to cooperate with prosecutors. In a statement released Friday by Cullerton’s office, Theis suggests that John Coli is trying to implicate Cullerton in an attempt to “avoid penalties” for his own wrongdoing.

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Earlier in the day, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Cullerton, of the Chicago suburb of Villa Park, was indicted by a federal grand jury on 39 counts of embezzlement of a labor union and other charges after allegedly taking more than $250,000 salary and benefits from the Teamsters for nearly three years while doing little or more work.

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10:51 a.m.

An Illinois state senator has been indicted on federal charges that he took benefits and salary from the Teamsters for nearly three years while doing little or no work.

Prosecutors in Chicago announced Friday that Thomas E. Cullerton of Villa Park is charged with 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union, one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans and one count of making false statements in a health care matter.

The announcement of the charges against the 49-year-old Democrat who represents northeastern DuPage County comes days after former Teamsters Joint Council 25 president John T. Coli Sr. pleaded guilty to shaking down a Chicago film studio and agreed to cooperate with investigators.

Cullerton is a cousin of Illinois Senate President John Cullerton.

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