Fire fighter’s defense lawyer can question prosecutor’s motive in murder trial

Fire fighter’s defense lawyer can question prosecutor’s motive in murder trial

Another defense lawyer is questioning whether LaSalle County State’s Attorney Karen Donnelly is prosecuting someone mainly for reasons that go back to her 2016 campaign for office. Judge Cynthia Raccuglia Wednesday ruled that it’s okay for defense lawyer Ryan Hamer to raise questions like that when 51-year old Ottawa fire fighter Ken Cusick’s case goes to trial.

Cusick is charged with drowning his wife Tracy by forcing her face into a toilet bowl in 2006. He wasn’t charged with murder until 2017, less than three months after Donnelly took office. Raccuglia said Donnelly made specific campaign promises about resolving the Cusick case, so what she said can be brought up. Just how Hamer intends to bring it up, he didn’t say other than by ruling out calling Donnelly as a defense witness.

More than a year ago, former State’s Attorney Brian Towne’s lawyers questioned whether Donnelly began prosecuting him as an extension of her campaign. Another judge took her off that case.