Winnebago County
Opponent Releases Audio Tapes of D.A. Paulus

July 31, 2002

The battle for the Winnebago County district attorney's office just got nastier. The current D.A., Joe Paulus, is under investigation for whether his office reduced charges in exchange for money. Paulus is also the subject of some taped conversations by his political opponent and former assistant, E.J. Jelinski.

Jelinski released excerpts of those tapes to the media Wednesday.

Jelinski says he is the man for the district attorney's office, not Paulus. He says the taped conversations with the current D.A. prove it.

"I don't think it's mudslinging," Jelinski said. "I think it is informing the public in this county about the truth of what's going on in the D.A.'s office."

He says the truth is in a conversation he had with Paulus in late February, when he says Paulus bragged about having sex with women in the D.A.'s office during work hours:

"I have intercourse with her, 10:45 in the (inaudible). My phone's ringing. My intercom is going haywire, and I'm (expletive) her, and I'm loving it."
Jelinski, who's running against Paulus, says the taxpayers should be outraged.

Paulus says he made it up to impress Jelinski. He responded, "That was nothing more than boy talk, exaggerated boy talk."

Paulus fired Jelinski in May for what he called poor performance as a prosecutor. The firing was after Jelinski announced his candidacy for district attorney in April.

In fact, Jelinski says, Paulus praised him during that February conversation:

"From what I can tell you, I think you've got skills and real potential and I have confidence in you."
But Paulus responds that Jelinski's performance dropped since February. He said what Jelinski did on Wednesday is the only way Jelinski has a possible chance of beating him in the election.

"Everybody knows he's a peeping tom, that he's been tape recording people. Nobody trusts him in the office, nobody trusts him in the system, and he has to do something dramatic to turn the tide," Paulus said.

Paulus said the release of the audio tapes does not change his mind about running for re-election.

John Maloney
Police/Prosecutor Misconduct