Illinois

Chicago alderman plead not guilty in corruption case

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2011 file photo, Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran, left, address the residents of the 20th Ward in Chicago. Cochran, a prominent Chicago alderman indicted on federal corruption charges, is due for his first court appearance. Cochran has been charged in a 15-count indictment, including allegations that he extorted money from a liquor store owner and pilfered funds from a local government activities fund to pay for gambling and his daughter's college tuition. His arraignment in federal court is Friday, Dec. 24, 2016, morning. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2011 file photo, Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran, left, address the residents of the 20th Ward in Chicago. Cochran, a prominent Chicago alderman indicted on federal corruption charges, is due for his first court appearance. Cochran has been charged in a 15-count indictment, including allegations that he extorted money from a liquor store owner and pilfered funds from a local government activities fund to pay for gambling and his daughter's college tuition. His arraignment in federal court is Friday, Dec. 24, 2016, morning. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)  (The Associated Press)

A prominent Chicago alderman has pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges during an initial court appearance.

Willie Cochran appeared in federal court in Chicago on Thursday accompanied by several relatives. The 64-year-old Democrat stood in a pinstripe suit and purple tie with his hands folded in front of him as attorney Thomas Durkin entered the plea on his behalf.

The 15-count indictment includes bribery and extortion counts. It alleges Cochran extorted money from a store owner and pilfered funds from an activities fund to pay for gambling and his daughter's college tuition.

Durkin said later that there's no evidence Cochran sought to accept money for official actions. He said Cochran used some fund money but also put money back.

A status hearing is set for Jan. 11.