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Corruption: A Club for Bribery

Roommates band together to share the high cost of housing.

Neighboring farmers split the purchase price of expensive field machinery. And in Chicago, federal prosecutors claimed last week, at least five lawyers took the cooperative-payment approach to handle a local judge's monthly bribe. The lawyers who came up with the $2,000-a-month retainer between 1981 and 1983, said U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, were members of a "bribery club." In return for the alleged payoffs, the judge made them court-appointed counsel for unrepresented defendants, often drunken drivers—and then granted acquittals.

Implicated in the scheme was Richard LeFevour, presiding judge of the First Municipal...

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