A high profile Chicago attorney who made headlines this summer for his defense of organized crime boss Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo will represent a local police sergeant under felony indictment for the alleged 2003 beating of a homeless man.
According to documents on file with the U.S. District Court, Rick Halprin will defend Sgt. Mike Murphy against two federal charges for which Murphy is facing a possible prison sentence of 30 years. Halprin's Dec. 10 motion to replace Oak Park attorney William Gamboney Jr. as Murphy's counsel was granted Dec. 13.
In a telephone interview following the hearing, Halprin said his client has every intention of defending himself against the charges.
"We're absolutely going to trial," Halprin said.
Murphy remains on paid administrative leave from his job as a police officer in Forest Park following his Oct. 24 indictment. He is accused of assaulting Sidney Hooks during an Aug. 6, 2003, arrest and falsifying a police report on the incident. Hooks sued Murphy and the village in 2004 and received a $50,000 settlement.
"I don't want to discuss trial strategy," Halprin said. "You'll hear all that in my opening statements."
As a criminal defense attorney, one of Halprin's most notorious clients is Lombardo, whom he has represented for approximately six years. Lombardo was convicted in September of racketeering, extortion and murder following the Family Secrets trial, which was hailed by federal prosecutors for delivering a crippling blow to organized crime in Chicago.
In that case, Halprin squared off against prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney's Office. A spokesperson for the office, Randall Samborn, would not comment on the possibility of a rematch with Halprin.
"I can't state emphatically enough that we have no comment on Mr. Halprin taking the case," Samborn said.
No trial date has been set in the case.
As for Murphy's job status with the police department, Village Administrator Mike Sturino said it's unclear how long Murphy will remain on paid leave.
"As with all [administrative leave] cases, they are subject to review," Sturino said.