Some of the experts quoted in Annie Linskey's story this morning about State Prosecutor Robert Rohrbaugh's new indictments of Mayor Sheila Dixon are scratching their heads, wondering why he brought new charges that are basically the same as the old ones:
But that misses some subtle differences between the last indictment and this one, all of which look attributable to the cooperation of developer and former Dixon boyfriend Ronald Lipscomb. The old indictment left some dots to be connected -- the couple went on a shopping spree in Chicago in which thousands in merchandise was charged to Dixon's AmEx; Lipscomb later had a corporate check made out to cash for thousands of dollars; Dixon and one of her aides deposited large amounts of cash at ATMs; Dixon wrote a big check to AmEx. You can guess what might have been happening there, but the old indictment didn't spell it out.
The new indictment adds some key details, like Dixon asking Lipscomb for money to pay her bill and then going back to him to say she needed more.
It's the same thing with the gift cards the mayor is accused of misusing. The old indictment presents two theories -- either they were gifts to Dixon that she failed to report, or they were gifts to the City Council president's office, which she stole. Now, with Lipscomb's testimony (and that of developer Patrick Turner), the new indictment clearly indicates that the developers understood the gift cards to be donations to the office to be used to help the poor.
Are these new, blockbuster revelations? No, but they shore up weak points in the case. Moreover, the new indictment does not rely on any of Dixon's official acts as evidence, likely preventing defense attorneys to use the same strategy they did before to get several perjury charges against the mayor thrown out.