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More info sought in phone threat vs. state Rep. Ives

State Rep. Jeanne Ives at a press conference to announce legislation in response to a Sun-Times investigation into the clout hiring of a convicted gang member in the Illinos Dept. of Corrections. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times
State Rep. Jeanne Ives at a press conference to announce legislation in response to a Sun-Times investigation into the clout hiring of a convicted gang member in the Illinos Dept. of Corrections. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

DuPage County Judge Blanche Fawell Monday directed the state’s attorney’s office to provide more specific information in the case of a Chicago man accused of making threats against state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton).

“I don’t see why there’s any confusion,” Fawell said. “There’s virtually no factual dispute.”

Stephen Bona is charged with threatening Ives in a phone call to her office after a radio interview in which she made negative comments about same sex marriage, calling them “disordered relationships.”

In the recorded call, one that the defense doesn’t dispute, he left the message, “your Tea Party brethren, Sarah Palin, put up a map including the names, locations, and faces of Democratic candidates … we know where you live. There’s no longer an assault weapons ban.”

Bona also referred to Ives with expletives.

Bona’s attorney, Joanie Rae Wimmer, filed a motion to have the charges dropped on the grounds that Bona’s message was constitutionally protected speech, but in January Fawell dismissed the motion, saying that whether the speech was protected under the First Amendment or actually constituted a threat was for a jury to decide.

Monday’s court appearance saw Fawell grant Wimmer’s request for specific language to be included in the charge against his client. Bona is charged with threatening a public official, but the bill of particulars includes no specific public statements Ives made, and Wimmer wants the specific comments to be part of the official charge.

“My view is that the state has to prove the reason or the motive that the threat was made,” Wimmer argued. “We’re entitled to know what he was guilty of.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Scaliatine argued that the threat to a public servant was enough for an indictment and was unwilling to commit to a specific statement.

Fawell asked the State’s Attorney Office to come up with a new bill of particulars listing the precise public comments to which Bona was responding.

Fawell seemed frustrated at the inability of the two sides to come to an agreement on an issue that, to her, seemed self-evident.

“It’s (the verdict) not going to hang on factual issues,” she said.

Contacted for comment, Ives would only say that she was aware of Fawell’s ruling and that she had faith in the State’s Attorney’s Office.

“It’s in the hands of the state’s attorney, who I trust to do the right thing in the interest of the people,” she said.

Bona’s next court date is April 23.

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