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Prosecutor Ghrist Shifts To Defense, Joins Bloomington Law Firm As Partner

Adam Ghrist
Illinois State University

A former McLean County prosecutor who left in 2018 to join the U.S. attorney’s office is returning to Bloomington as a defense lawyer with Finegan & Rinker, according to an announcement Monday by the law firm.

Adam Ghrist served as first assistant state’s attorney for the county for three years until his departure for the federal post. During his 11 years with the county, Ghrist handled several high-profile murder, drug and child abuse cases.

In the federal prosecutor’s office in Peoria, Ghrist worked on major narcotics cases, including one against 13 members of the street gang known as the “Bomb Squad.” The December 2019 convictions under the federal RICO law (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) led to sentences ranging from 12 years to life for the gang members.

Ghrist “comes to the firm with a wealth of legal and litigation experience,” said the firm’s statement naming Ghrist as a new partner and head of its newly formed Federal Litigation Practice.

The firm’s website has posted several teasers during the past two weeks, including a recent contest asking social media friends to guess the name of its new partner.

In a personal statement posted along with the announcement, Ghrist said the move is part of his ongoing effort “to serve and protect the citizens of central Illinois.” Ghrist indicated he will handle a broad range of litigation, including civil, criminal and family law matters.

The switch from prosecuting to defending people charged with a crime will put Ghrist on the opposite side of the courtroom from his former colleagues in both state and federal court.

The roster of attorneys at Finegan Rinker & Ghrist includes James Finegan and his two sons, Phil and Rob Finegan. Attorney Josh Rinker joined the firm in 2018. The Finegan brothers and Rinker all worked as McLean County prosecutors before their work in private practice.  

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Edith began her career as a reporter with The DeWitt County Observer, a weekly newspaper in Clinton. From 2007 to June 2019, Edith covered crime and legal issues for The Pantagraph, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Illinois. She previously worked as a correspondent for The Pantagraph covering courts and local government issues in central Illinois.
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