- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - A lawyer for a retired Chicago official charged with taking bribes to steer $124 million in city contracts to a red-light detection company says his client’s done nothing wrong.

The attorney spoke Wednesday after 52-year-old John Bills made an initial appearance in federal court in Chicago.

The city awarded contracts to Phoenix-based Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., starting in 2003. They were for the city’s red light enforcement program. Prosecutors say Bills took hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure Redflex got the nod.

But defense attorney Nishay Sanan told reporters outside court that Bills “denies taking a bribe from anyone.” He says Redflex is facing legal troubles elsewhere and is trying to make Bills the “scapegoat” for their misdeeds.

A message left at the company’s Arizona headquarters Wednesday wasn’t returned.