Last April, McGee survived a recall election with 64 percent of the vote against seven challengers. Yet a month later he was arrested for conspiring with two friends to murder a man for $3,000. Their conversations were captured in the course of a federal investigation of McGeeâs alleged demand for bribes in exchange for help in obtaining a liquor license. Since the tape also revealed the gang later agreeing to give the victim a mere âhead-busting," in which they would âbeatâ him âdown,â âpeel back [his] wigâ and âsew his cap together,â â all for $1,000 â the charge was reduced to substantial battery.
Nothing â not allegations of shaking down business owners, buying votes, soliciting bribes, nor restraining orders, three arrests in a year and a half, nor threatening to kill his extramarital pregnant girlfriend â seems to dissuade McGeeâs faithful supporters.
"I think he's a nice person, and I think he's been railroaded. I don't think he can do as good of a job in prison. But I think if he'd been a white man, he'd already been out of jail," says one voter.
McGeeâs district is largely African-American. After last Mayâs hearing, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that McGeeâs supporters feel that âthe case is weak and shows that the government targets leaders who represent the underclass.â As he was led handcuffed into court, several of his supporters in the packed courtroom raised closed fists.
McGee's attorney on the state charges, Glenn O. Givens, says that McGee is the target of a trumped up, racist prosecution. Or, as he put it during a hearing last spring, "It was the government that actually committed the crimes that Alderman McGee is charged with."