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Former Ald. Medrano Freed On $175,000 Bond In Bribery Case

Former Ald. Ambrosio Medrano (CBS File Photo)

Former Ald. Ambrosio Medrano (CBS File Photo)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Bond was set at $175,000 on Tuesday for a former Chicago alderman who is facing bribery charges for the second time.

Former Ald. Ambrosio Medrano was arrested last week, charged alongside his longtime friend and former Cook County Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno on bribery charges.

It’s the second time Medrano is facing corruption charges. He served 21 months in prison in the 1990s, after pleading guilty to charges he accepted $31,000 in bribes after he was caught in the federal Operation Silver Shovel case.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

This time, Medrano is charged with working with Moreno in a scheme to help a medical company sell bandages to Cook County hospitals, in exchange for kickbacks.

Medrano is also accused of a separate scheme – along with businessmen James Barta and Gustavo Buenrostro – to pay bribes to a man who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, in order to get out-of-state county hospitals to do business with Barta’s mail-order prescription drug service company.

Moreno also has been charged with taking a $5,000 bribe to help ensure the development of a waste transfer station in Cicero while he was on the town’s economic development board.

At Medrano’s bond hearing on Tuesday, his defense attorney Gil Pissetzky suggested Medrano might have been acting at the behest of Moreno.

Medrano was arrested last week, and appeared in court Tuesday dressed in an orange jumpsuit and shackles.

His mother-in-law put up her house as collateral for the $175,000 bond, so Medrano could go free pending trial.

Defense attorney and John DeLeon, a friend of Medrano’s, said “certainly it saddens me to see him in shackles – leg shackles and cuffs – but obviously I’m very happy now that we were able to obtain the release.”