Cooley, Robert- Profile

Robert Cooley

Chicago attorney. Born 1932.

Exposed in 1989 as the FBI informant against Organized Crime in cases involving Chicago political and judicial corruption. He was the star witness in the government’s Operation Gambat investigation of corruption in the courts and government, ultimately resulting in the convictions of 26 judges, mobsters, police officers and lawyers.

Represented Michael Colella, charged with the brutal beating of a Chicago policewoman. Pat marcy, secretary to the First Ward Democratic Organization and the Outfit’s link to Chicago politics and judges, told Cooley that he had “fixed” the Colella case with trial Judge Lawrence Passarella.

Cooley also represented hitman Harry Aleman.

Gambling debts of more than $200,000 owed to the mob helped push Cooley to turned against his former employers.

Cooley claims that he paid off judges for the mob, while working for them as their attorney. He says he paid $10,000 to Judge Frank Wilson, the judge who acquited Harry Aleman, despite eyewitness testimony that Aleman had gunned down a union official. That involvement may result in a retrial of Aleman, who is now behind bars on other convictions.

The son of a Chicago Police Officer, Cooley became a police officer himself at the age of 20. He became a licensed attorney in 1970. He met Marcy and mob boos Marco D’Amico while managing his own bookmaking service. D’Amico controlled gambling on Chicago’s Northwest Side and in the Western suburbs. D’Amico imposed a hefty $2,000 a month “Street tax” on Cooley’s operation. Cooley claims he had placed more than $1.3 million in bets with D’Amico. Eventually, helped move bribes between the mob and judicial system employees and judges, including assistant state’s attorneys, public defenders, sheriff’s deputies, police officers, court clerks, assistant corporation counsels, Chicago aldermen and other lawyers. The bribes ranged from as little as $100 to as much as $10,000.

Cooley is now in the Federal Witness Protection Program.