Criminal charge “inspired” third-party run for State’s Attorney, candidate says

Brian Dennehey | Facebook

A third-party candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney was charged last year with violating an order of protection one day after a judge signed the order to shield his wife and 12-year-old daughter, court records show. Brian Dennehey later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and received one year of court supervision.

“I plead guilty to disorderly conduct to dispose of the case and get on with my life,” he said in an email. “The case is now dismissed.”

Dennehey is the Libertarian candidate to become Cook County’s top law enforcement official. Incumbent Kim Foxx, a Democrat, and Republican Patrick O’Brien are also running.

Dennehey’s ex-wife sought an order of protection for herself and their daughter on January 17, 2019, after the Galena Police Department asked her to come into the station. During the meeting with police, investigators presented his ex-wife with an email containing allegations about Dennehey that was sent to one of their daughter’s teachers, according to Jo Daviess County court records. 

In her handwritten petition for an order of protection, Dennehey’s ex-wife said the content of the email “does raise concerns and it is in line with a consistent pattern of behavior that has not improved.” Jo Daviess County Judge William A. Kelly signed the emergency order of protection the same day. 

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Kelly’s order required Dennehey to, among other things, avoid contacting his ex-wife and daughter in person or indirectly “including, but not limited to telephone calls, mail, email, faxes, and written notes.”

The next evening, Dennehey sent three Skype messages to an account shared by his ex-wife and daughter, prosecutors alleged. Court records show a Jo Daviess County deputy sheriff arrested Dennehey 90 minutes later, and prosecutors charged him with violating the order of protection.

Six months later, Dennehey pleaded guilty to a single count of disorderly conduct, records show.

“I remain innocent of any claims against me. I took the actions necessary to dispose of the case and get on with my life,” Dennehey told CWBChicago in an email. “Based on my experience as a defendant in the criminal justice system, I can imagine what happens to people without my education or means.”

He said the Jo Daviess County court case “inspired my run for state’s attorney,” as did “widely publicized events of the past, events of this year, [and] prodding of my fellow Libertarians.”

Dennehey, 49, lived in Galena when the allegations against him were made, according to officials records. He now has a home in Uptown.

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