FOX 32 Exclusive: Chicago bigwig Mickey Segal breaks his silence - FOX 35 News Orlando

FOX 32 Exclusive: Chicago bigwig Mickey Segal breaks his silence

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After serving almost eight years in prison, Mickey Segal, who was once one of Chicago's most influential power brokers, is speaking out.

Segal was convicted of diverting his client's premiums to support his own lavish lifestyle.

In addition to prison time, his racketeering conviction led to the collapse of his $250 million company which employed 900 people.

He insists he was the victim of prosecutorial misconduct, including the feds use of improper accounting methods.

Prosecutors said his complaints have been reviewed repeatedly by judges, and have been repeatedly rejected.

These days, Segal dismisses the notion that he was once one of Chicago's most influential businessmen, which could be the result of his time in prison.

"It was a difficult experience for me. I worked very hard to fit in like everybody else. I am just like everybody else," Segal said.

Segal's Near North Insurance clients included names like BP Amoco, McDonalds' and United Airlines. He owned a small interest in the Chicago Bulls, and was a regular at Gibsons, after starting small.

A jury decided Segal had used his client's premiums like a personal piggy bank. Prosecutors said he illegally spent millions, "like a drunken sailor, " and after his conviction, they said the jury got it right.

"They saw what we saw when we brought this case, which was a gross abuse of trust by Mr. Segal over many, many,many years that was designed to enrich himself at the expense of those for whom he had a duty to hold that money in trust," prosecutor Dean Polales said back in June 2004.

In prison, Segal said when he got depressed he drew encouragement from supporters who told him he'd gotten a raw deal.

"So I had those up and downs with that, but that's how I got through the day, I mean, there was no Gibsons, but I found some of the people very intelligent and affable," Segal commented.

But Segal's case did not end with his time in prison.

All of his assets, worth millions of dollars, have been frozen until he forfeits $15 million for his crimes. He's been negotiating with the feds over how much he should get back after the $15 million is paid, and he claims they're relying on the same accounting figures that were used to convict him, figures that he says his own accountant has proven were wrong.

Segal said his accountant, "spent fourteen thousand hours with his team, reconstructed our books and records, and computed the necessary exhibits that the government submitted, and proven that they were just known to be false, and impossible."

Segal also said prosecutors broke the rules when they relied on evidence that had been illegally obtained by a cyber hacker and recorded conversations with Segal's defense attorney,

But it's the government's refusal to accept his accountant's conclusion that that's got him most upset.

"I believe this accounting evidence is clear and it should be considered no different than medical DNA," Segal said.

Most of Segal's complaints aren't new and they've gotten him nowhere in the courts. Now, he's hanging his hopes on the fact that one of his former defense lawyers, James Cole, who once helped draft a letter to the Justice Department on Segal's behalf, has been appointed deputy Attorney General, Segal believes Attorney General Eric Holder might pay attention if he knew a top aide had once supported Segal's position.

A spokesman for the Attorney General said there'd be no comment on Segal's case, but a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Chicago provided a statement, saying in part, "[Segal's] latest claims of innocence and prosecutorial misconduct have been repeatedly litigated and rejected by the trial judge, appellate courts and the Justice Department's internal reviews. His allegations are wholly without merit."

Segal said he's currently looking at a number of business opportunities. He lost the Near North Insurance brokerage when he was convicted, in fact how much he gets back from the feds will depend on which of the frozen assets are considered his personal assets, and which belonged to the co

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