Democratic leaders won’t back Cook County court clerk

CHICAGO (AP) — The Cook County Democratic Party has declined to endorse four-term county court clerk Dorothy Brown for re-election amid reports of a federal investigation.

According to published reports, party leaders on Friday withdrew their support after Brown asked them to continue backing her in the March 15 primary. Brown has downplayed the investigation, saying such probes are not unusual.

News reports have said that FBI investigators confiscated Brown’s cellphone this month after securing a subpoena. The reports say federal officials are looking into her office’s management and possibly a land deal involving Brown and her husband, Benton Cook III.

The party committee members endorsed Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris for the clerk’s post instead.

Brown could still run for re-election without party support but it would be harder for her to raise money.