A crooked former Chicago cop testified Wednesday that he paid a judge in connection with a search warrant.
Richard Doroniuk, who has pleaded guilty to robbing drug dealers, is a government witness at his former partner's trial in federal court. He faces more than 20 years in prison, but is hoping for a lesser sentence for his cooperation.
Doroniuk testified he and partner Mahmoud "Mike" Shamah stole money and drugs from suspected dope dealers in 2005 and 2006 while they were tactical officers in the Morgan Park District.
While discussing the search warrants that the officers obtained, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina Egan asked Doroniuk if he ever gave money to a judge.
"He asked for it," Doroniuk said, adding that he paid the judge. Doroniuk did not elaborate on why he paid the unnamed judge.
Under questioning from Shamah's attorney, Anthony Pinelli, Doroniuk said a judge approved a search warrant even though the judge knew there really was no "John Doe" informant. Such informants are supposed to appear before judges to provide the basis for a search.
The Cook County state's attorney's office recently tightened rules regarding the use of John Doe informants, sources said. The change came after a meeting with federal prosecutors.
Doroniuk and Shamah popped onto the FBI's radar when an informant alleged the officers were planning ripoffs with drug dealer Larry "Peanut" Cross. Doroniuk said Cross gave him the names of dealers to rob.
Doroniuk said he would plant drugs on people when searches turned up nothing because he and Shamah needed to arrest someone to satisfy their bosses. He said he bought those drugs -- which he called "insurance" -- from Cross.
Doroniuk said he paid Cross for the drugs with cash he stole from people during searches and traffic stops.
One suspicious cop allegedly tried to horn in on the stolen cash, asking Shamah to "throw something" his way like on the TV show "The Shield." Doroniuk and Shamah never let the officer know they stole anything so they would not have to share it, prosecutors have said.
BY FRANK MAIN, Crime Reporter
November 20, 2008