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CHARLESTON -- A Circuit Court judge denied attorney Todd Reardon Sr.'s request on Monday for an emergency restraining order to prevent police from extracting information from his cellphone for a juror perjury investigation.

However, Reardon's defense attorney, Shon Park, said at the close of Monday's hearing that he plans to appeal Judge Thomas O'Shaughnessy's decision to the Fourth District Appellate Court in Springfield. O'Shaughnessy said the cellphone will remain in the custody of the Coles County Circuit Clerk's Office until the appeal is resolved.

During Monday's hearing, Park said Reardon is willing to cooperate with the Mattoon Police Department's investigation but wants to protect attorney-client privileged information within his cellphone pertaining to his many other clients.

"When the download of that phone occurs, the government will have possession of all the information that is contained on that phone," Park said. He added that, "I think that is putting the fox in charge of the hen house."

The emergency restraining order request reports that the cellphone was seized as the result of search warrants that the Mattoon Police Department carried out on Aug. 24. The warrants were reportedly part of an investigation into a juror's testimony in a court case that was filed against Christopher K. Whitley, 41.

Court records show that the case against Whitley was originally filed on June 15, 2015, and that he was convicted by a jury on April 25 of this year on one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol.

Whitley's attorney at the time, Reardon, then filed a motion on July 12 for acquittal and for an order granting a new trial. As a reason for acquittal, the motion stated that the comments of one of the juror's had contaminated his fellow jurors during their deliberations.

According to the acquittal motion, the juror reportedly said he had known Whitley since high school and that he "was always in trouble but would use his name to buy himself out of trouble."

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Court records show that during an Aug. 23 hearing, the court found "prejudice may have existed" within the jury that convicted Whitley and ordered that he be granted a new trial. Motions are continuing to be filed in this case.

In an Aug. 28 motion, Coles County Assistant State's Attorney Joy Wolf argued that the verdict should be reinstated because the Mattoon Police Department has uncovered evidence that the juror had given false evidence as the result of "subornation of perjury" by Whitley and his then attorney, Reardon.

"(The juror) confessed the statement he made on stand under oath was false and suborned," the motion for verdict reinstatement said. The motion added that police also interviewed the other 11 jurors and they denied that this juror had ever made any statements during the deliberations about knowing Whitley.

During Monday's hearing, Judge O'Shaughnessy said attorney-client privileged information on the cellphone needs to be protected. O'Shaughnessy said the proper place to protect this information is with the judge who will review the search warrant requests for the phone's contents, not with his hearing of the emergency restraining order in chancery court on Monday.

Jonathan McKay, deputy bureau chief for criminal prosecutions/trial assistance with the Illinois Attorney General's Office, represented the state during Monday's hearing.

McKay said a team lead by state prosecutorial staff, outside of Coles County, will handle extracting case pertinent information from the cellphone while protecting attorney-client privilege when the investigation proceeds.

"Quite frankly, charges might not be filed. We don't know," McKay said, adding that this determination will be part of the investigation process.

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Contact Rob Stroud at (217) 238-6861. Follow him on Twitter: @TheRobStroud



Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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