Operation Greylord is revealed
Judge Richard LeFevour was sentenced to twelve years in prison for his role in the Greylord scandal, which revealed corruption within Cook County’s court system. He was convicted of taking thousands of dollars in bribes to fix traffic cases. Photo: Frank Hanes/Chicago Tribune

August 5, 1983

The FBI probe into corruption in the Cook County judiciary had been underway for three years when it was leaked that summer. As details emerged, its staggering scale shocked the city. Ninety-two people — judges, clerks, lawyers, deputy sheriffs, various “bagmen” — were indicted in the case-fixing scheme. As one prosecutor told jurors, the flourishing bribery system had created “two systems of justice: for those who pay and those who don’t pay.” The operation led to a special commission to spur reform in the county courts, and its use of wires and moles became standard in similar investigations, including Operation Silver Shovel, which uncovered corruption in City Hall.