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Fox Lake cop widow’s trial is delayed; state to appeal ruling barring her emails

Melodie Gliniewicz leaves Lake County Jail after posting bond in January 2016. The widow of Fox Lake Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was indicted on charges of money laundering and misuse of charitable funds. (Stacey Wescott / Chicago Tribune)

Prosecutors said Monday they will go to a higher court to try again for permission use emails and texts between Melodie Gliniewicz and her late husband as evidence at her upcoming money laundering trial.

The appeal could take months to hear, meaning a delay in the start of Gliniewicz’s trial in Lake County, which had been scheduled for July.

Gliniewicz’s husband, Fox Lake police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, was fatally shot in 2015 and was widely lauded as a hero cut down in the line of duty. Then investigators determined his death was a suicide staged to look like homicide — all, authorities said, to cover up his theft of funds from the village’s Police Explorer youth policing program he ran for many years.

Authorities later charged his widow with money laundering, misuse of charitable funds and conspiracy, saying she knew of and participated in her husband’s alleged scheme.

But in a blow to prosecutors, Lake County Judge James Booras ruled in May that the state cannot submit potentially damaging emails and texts that Melodie Gliniewicz, 52, exchanged with her husband before his death.

The judge cited so-called marital privilege laws that protect people from being compelled to incriminate their spouses in a court or law.

Prosecutors argue that while such protections might keep someone from having to testify against a spouse, they don’t cover communication between spouses outside of court.

But at a hearing Monday, Booras denied a motion to reconsider his earlier ruling, saying the marital privilege "protects disclosure of any kind." Prosecutors will now make their counter argument in front of the 2nd District Appellate Court.

Authorities allege that the Gliniewiczes used Explorer funds for personal expenses including a trip to Hawaii, meals at restaurants and visits to the local movie theater.

Her lawyers contend that the couple sometimes borrowed from the fund to make ends meets but paid the money back. They also have said that she was unaware of some of the things her husband was spending the money on, such as online pornography.

Susan Berger is a freelance reporter.

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