CHICAGO (CBS) – A judge has named former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb as a special prosecutor to re-investigate the death of a man after he was punched by the nephew of former Mayor Richard Daley.
Webb will have the ability to issue subpoenas and compel witnesses to testify under oath.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to be special prosecutor in this case,” Webb told reporters.
Early on the morning of April 25, 2004, Koschman reportedly had a confrontation with Daley nephew Richard “R.J.” Vanecko outside a bar in the Rush and Division Street nightclub district. The quarrel allegedly prompted Vanecko to punch or push Koschman, who hit his head on the ground and died 12 days later.
Cook County Judge Michael Toomin was critical of the way Chicago police and the Cook County State’s attorney handled the investigation.
Koschman’s death was ruled a homicide. A series of stories in the Chicago Sun-Times led police to re-examine the case but no one was ever charged.
Detectives reportedly determined Koschman was the aggressor, based on witness accounts. But those witnesses later said they never told police Koschman was the aggressor.
Alvarez’s office also declined to press charges, saying there was not enough evidence to sustain criminal charges against Vanecko. But last year, Alvarez did ask Illinois State Police to examine the Chicago Police investigation.
Koschman’s family’s petition for a special prosecutor noted irregularities in the investigation, including false official reports and a case file that went missing, and says the investigation might have been influenced by Vanecko’s relationship to Mayor Daley. The petition said the irregularities required an independent investigation.
Webb is a partner at the Chicago law firm Winston & Strawn.