Good morning, Chicago.

On a winter evening a little over a decade ago, as their husbands were busy cooperating against the most wanted cartel boss in the world, Valerie Gaytan and Vivianna Lopez were driving around Chicago’s North Side with more than $4 million in cash in their SUV.

Their futures were forever entwined when they married Chicago twins Pedro and Margarito Flores, who rose to the apex of the nation’s drug trafficking world before making the stunning decision in 2008 to surrender and help federal investigators build a case against their boss, Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Last year, Gaytan, 47, and Lopez, 42, were indicted in U.S. District Court in Chicago on money laundering charges alleging they’d hidden millions more of their husbands’ drug proceeds from the government over a 12-year period.

But the women have argued they cannot be prosecuted for any of it because they were promised immunity by federal agents and the U.S. attorney’s office as part of their husbands’ cooperation.

Jason Meisner and Annie Sweeney

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The Cook County state’s attorney’s office has seen significant attrition and turnover in the COVID era, leaving courtrooms understaffed at the same time prosecutors dealt with a case backlog and a series of violent summers.

“We’re so short of attorneys, there’s twice as much work with no help,” one longtime prosecutor not authorized to speak publicly told the Tribune. “And really, you’re setting people up for failure. Anything can blow up in your face. The expectations are not manageable.”

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Following Lollapalooza’s long and lucrative run in Chicago, the future of the flagship music festival is still to be determined, with its decade-old contract ending this year.

But as producers negotiate with city officials on a pact to keep Lollapalooza in town, some residents, aldermen and parks advocates wonder if they’ll have any say in the decision — especially after the Chicago Park District quietly executed a one-year contract extension for this year’s festival without any public discussion or vote.

Tourists have returned to Chicago’s downtown this summer, and anyone looking at the crowds thronging Millennium Park, the Riverwalk and stores on Michigan Avenue might think the city’s pandemic crisis is past. But “For Rent” signs still cover many downtown storefronts, and office workers remain scarce, which means fewer customers for Loop retailers.

Downtown, the pandemic has made clear just how essential one constituent is: the office worker. While a spring and summer infusion of tourists has boosted foot traffic in many shopping districts, the Loop is a step behind, and street-level businesses may continue suffering until more companies call people back to the office.

Ryan Poles really wishes he still had that GoPro. If he did, he could show you more of what he’s talking about, this fantastic memory that suddenly has put a wide smile across his face.

It’s a perfectly pleasant March afternoon in Florida, and Poles is sitting at the peak of his profession, a first down or two from the whispering waves of the Atlantic Ocean, on a lounge sofa adjacent to a pristine beach at The Breakers resort in Palm Beach. The scenery symbolizes an arrival, an ascent to an unreal career opportunity with the Chicago Bears. Poles is soaking in every minute of his first trip to the NFL owners meetings as the new general manager of one of the league’s charter franchises.

The Tribune’s Nick Kindelsperger wasn’t initially going to visit Sueños inside the Soho House, because he knew it had only a six-month run. Then he stumbled onto some of the restaurant’s Instagram photos and couldn’t resist the subsequent craving for ceviche. Turns out, the project will continue to operate at Soho House until at least early 2023.

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