Vanecko status hearing

Richard Vanecko, left, heads into court for a status hearing in Rolling Meadows. A trial date has been set for Feb. 18 for Vanecko, nephew of former Mayor Richard Daley, who is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of David Koschman in 2004. (Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune / September 24, 2013)

A judge on Tuesday set a Feb. 18 start date for the involuntary manslaughter trial of former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew.

That date is nearly 10 years after the death of David Koschman, a 21-year-old Mount Prospect man who died after a drunken confrontation he and his friends had in the Rush Street night life district with a group that included Daley nephew Richard Vanecko.

Koschman was knocked to the ground during the April 25, 2004, altercation and hit his head. He died 11 days later.

No charges were filed after the initial investigation, but the case was reopened in 2011 after a Chicago Sun-Times series raised questions about whether authorities hid evidence or failed to aggressively investigate Vanecko because of his ties to Daley.

Vanecko was indicted last year after a Cook County judge appointed a special prosecutor to take another look at the case.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb, a former U.S. attorney, announced last week that the special grand jury examining the case had finished its work and no further charges would be filed against police or prosecutors who had handled the initial inquiries into Koschman's death.

A 162-page report detailing Webb's investigation into the conduct of police and prosecutors is under seal until after Vanecko's trial. Webb asked that the report be sealed because he said it contained potentially explosive details about the investigation that could impair Vanecko's right to a fair trial.

Judge Michael Toomin agreed and also ordered that the report not be turned over to Vanecko's attorneys.

It remains unclear whether the defense will ask a judge to unseal the report. One of Vanecko's attorneys could be heard asking Webb before Tuesday's hearing if he intended to turn the report over, with Webb replying that he did not.

Vanecko, who lives in Costa Mesa, Calif., and his attorneys declined to comment after Tuesday's hearing, as did Webb.

The trial is scheduled to be held at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. A McHenry County judge, Maureen McIntyre, was selected to preside over the politically charged case.

McIntyre on Tuesday set a Jan. 9 hearing for any pretrial motions after attorneys said discovery was essentially finished. Defense attorney Thomas Breen said the special prosecutor had turned over about 305,000 pages of documents.

sschmadeke@tribune.com