In the 1980s, Terrence Hake was a Cook County prosecutor in the State’s Attorney Office. When the FBI and United States Attorneys Office learned of Hake’s complaint about bribery and corruption in the Murder and Sexual Assault courtroom in Chicago, they recruited him to pose as a corrupt prosecutor and later as a bribe-paying criminal defense attorney. Hake worked undercover for nearly four years, accepting bribes, making payoffs, wearing a wire in bars and to racetracks, bugging a judge’s chambers, and befriending people he knew he would betray. The upshot of his work at the time was the longest and most successful undercover investigation in FBI history, and the largest corruption bust ever in the U.S. It resulted in bribery and tax charges against 103 judges, lawyers, and other court personnel. No less than three books have been written about this enormous scandal in the Chicago courts, including one by Terrence Hake himself, Operation Greylord.
By 1990, Hake had moved on to prosecuting counterfeiters for Chicago’s Regional Transportation Authority. That’s what put him in Judge John Bowe’s criminal courtroom a the Chicago Police Headquarters at 11th and State Streets. When the defense attorney for an accused counterfeiting ringleader called Hake a liar and his testimony false, Judge Bowe came to Hakes defense and found his client guilty as charged. In this audio recording by Judge Bowe’s son, Charles, Hake tells the story and shares his appreciation of Judge Bowe’s straightforward endorsement of his character and truthfulness.