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Alvarez staffer, Fiorito attorney worked together
by Sam Worley

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While the fate of the Cook County State's Attorney's investigation into Chicago police officer Richard Fiorito remains uncertain—that office recently denied rumors that it had decided not to pursue charges—records show a past close working relationship between the state's attorney's chief of staff, Daniel Kirk, and the lawyer representing Fiorito.

Fiorito is alleged to have falsified numerous DUI arrest reports, particularly targeting LGBT motorists. Separately, he is the subject of a federal civil-rights lawsuit filed by alleged victims of false DUI arrests.

Pending resolution of the investigation into his actions, Fiorito, who works out of the Chicago Police Department's 23rd District, has been placed on desk duty.

Daniel Kirk and Fiorito's attorney, Daniel Gallagher, worked together on a number of cases as special state's attorneys under the previous Cook County State's Attorney, Richard Devine. Notes from 2007 Cook County Board of Commissioners Finance Committee meetings list the law firm Querry and Harrow, including Kirk and Gallagher, seeking reimbursement for those attorneys' work on cases in which they participated.

Prior to joining the staff of current Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, Daniel Kirk worked for six years as a partner at Querry and Harrow—where Gallagher is a shareholder.

Sally Daly, a spokesperson for the state's attorney's office, confirmed that Kirk had worked for Gallagher at Querrey and Harrow. But, Daly said, "Mr. Kirk is not involved in the investigation involving Mr. Fiorito."

Daly went on to characterize insinuations that the case might be tainted by the two mens' prior working relationship as "absolutely ludicrous." She said that the attorney in the civil lawsuit, Jon Erickson, has "taken every opportunity to make inaccurate statements about this investigation."

"We refuse to stoop to that level," Daly said. She said that the investigation into allegations leveled against Fiorito is "continuing."

Erickson, the plaintiffs' attorney, declined to comment on the record for this story.

Andy Thayer—whose organization, Gay Liberation Network, has organized protests demanding that Fiorito be fired from the police force—said, "Anita Alvarez needs to come clean" about the relationship between her staff member and Fiorito's lawyer.

The fact that it "took [ another newspaper ] reporter to dig it out," said Thayer, raises questions about the integrity of the state's attorney's office. "I think that speaks volumes about the mendacity of the whole process."

Asked if he thinks that the state's attorney's office can responsibly prosecute the case, Equality Illinois Director of Public Policy Rick Garcia said, "Frankly, yes."

"I have complete trust in the state's attorney," said Garcia. "She has demonstrated impeccable ethics."

Garcia said that he planned to meet with representatives of the State's Attorney's Office later in the week to discuss the case, but that he was confident that it will move forward. "I think the State's Attorney will handle this case in an appropriate way."

Neither Gallagher nor representatives of the state's attorney's office could be reached for comment at press time.

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