Taskmaster judge presides over Chicago cop’s murder trial

CHICAGO (AP) — The judge hearing the trial of a white Chicago police officer accused in the deadly shooting of a black teenager has presided over some of the biggest trials in the city’s recent history — and he has a reputation as a fearless taskmaster.

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan is known for dressing down defendants, upbraiding ill-prepared attorneys and chastising the media in his court. Gaughan has overseen many high-profile cases, including a mass murder trial and child pornography charges against R&B singer R. Kelly.

But the 77-year-old judge is now at the center of one of Chicago’s biggest and most racially charged trials in decades: Officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald four years ago.

Opening statements are expected Monday.

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