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chicagotribune.com >> Local news

Web writer convicted of scuffle with police


By George Houde
Special to the Tribune
Published June 6, 2007

A Hoffman Estates writer who says he has been targeted by authorities because of his views was convicted Tuesday on charges stemming from a confrontation last summer with police outside his home.

Christopher Bollyn, 50, was found guilty of misdemeanor aggravated assault and resisting arrest after a four-day trial in the Rolling Meadows branch of Cook County Circuit Court.

Jurors deliberated about two hours before returning the verdict.

Bollyn, who has written for several Web sites and has claimed that Israeli agents were involved in the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11, 2001, called police Aug. 15 to report a suspicious car in his neighborhood. The car was an unmarked squad with three tactical unit officers, and authorities said the officers pulled into Bollyn's driveway in the 200 block of Kingman Lane to identify themselves.

The officers testified that Bollyn became belligerent and that they tackled him and used a stun gun to subdue him after he told them he was going into his house to get "reinforcements."

Bollyn, a onetime candidate for mayor of Hoffman Estates, said the officers never identified themselves.

During closing arguments, defense lawyer Paul Moreschi said it was difficult to know for sure what happened but told jurors that the "militaristic appearance" of the officers disturbed Bollyn.

"To contend that these officers -- armed with guns, bullet-proof vests, a Taser, pepper spray and batons -- that they were somehow afraid of this guy in a Hawaiian shirt, standing next to his wife and daughter, is ridiculous," Moreschi said.

But prosecutors argued that the three men showed their badges and wore gear that clearly identified them as Hoffman Estates police officers.

"This defense is ridiculous," said James Pontrelli, an assistant state's attorney. "Even the defendant's wife testified that one of the officers 'showed me a shiny, little badge.' "

Pontrelli said after the verdict that Bollyn's claims of a conspiracy linked to his writings "was too hard of a story to sell to the jury."

Bollyn declined to talk to reporters afterward, except to say, "I just got found guilty, and I maintain my innocence."

Sentencing is scheduled for June 25.

Copyright 2007, Chicago Tribune














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