CHICAGO — A former Cook County judge, under investigation in the Justice Department's five-year-long inquiry into corruption in Chicago's courts, fatally shot himself Monday, police said, just days before he was reportedly to be indicted by a federal grand jury.
Allen F. Rosin, 55, who was repeatedly named as a recipient of bribes in courtroom testimony over the last two years, was found dead in a tanning booth of a downtown Chicago health club by employees who heard a shot fired. Police recovered a .38-caliber pistol.
Sources said Rosin, who first served in the corruption-riddled traffic court and more recently in divorce court, was to have been indicted, perhaps as early as Wednesday.
9 Judges Convicted
Charges against him would have signaled an expansion of the extensive federal investigation into alleged corruption in divorce court. Up to now, prosecutions have focused on traffic and municipal courts and have resulted in the convictions and imprisonment of nine judges and the convictions of 46 lawyers, policemen and court workers.
Rosin, a judge for 21 years, was turned out of office in elections last November in the wake of allegations that he had taken bribes to fix drunk-driving cases.
"He was an emotional guy," said a lawyer and lifelong acquaintance. "And he certainly took care of his friends. There were certain lawyers who couldn't lose a case in front of him."
Medals Next to Body
Police said they found a picture of his family, a Father's Day card and military medals next to Rosin's body, but no suicide note.
Rosin, a former Chicago policeman, Marine Corps officer and Democratic precinct worker, was picked for the bench in 1965 by the old Democratic political machine headed by the late Mayor Richard J. Daley.
He is the second person to commit suicide in the massive federal investigation known as Operation Greylord. A Chicago policemen killed himself after he was indicted.
Major Corruption Probe
Operation Greylord, said to be the biggest Justice Department investigation ever of court corruption, began when undercover agents posing as corrupt lawyers recorded illicit transactions by judges, attorneys and court workers. Phony cases, some using federal agents as defendants, were run through the court system in an effort to document bribery.
What has emerged from prosecutions that began early in 1984 is a picture of a court system in which judges, often drunk, stuffed their pockets with $50 and $100 bills, shook down lawyers for loans totaling tens of thousands of dollars, demanded regular cuts of fees collected by lawyers who practiced before them and extorted cars, vacations and "loans" from lawyers and law firms.
The investigation is continuing and new indictments are expected, federal sources said. The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago refused to comment on Rosin's death.