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BREAKING: Alvarez wants grand jury in Trotter case

Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012

* ABC 7 is reporting that Sen. Donne Trotter’s attorneys were “very disappointed” today because they’d hoped to have a preliminary hearing, but the state’s attorney has decided to take the case to a grand jury

* Sun-Times

[Trotter’s lawyer Thomas Anthony Durkin] said he had hoped to force a preliminary hearing Wednesday that would have exposed the weakness of the case against Trotter. Instead, prosecutors received a continuance until Jan. 17.

That doesn’t bode well for Trotter at all. He couldn’t undermine the prosecution’s case ahead of this weekend’s slatemaking session, and now State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez apparently wants to expand the investigation. Bad all around.

* Meanwhile

Although state Rep. Monique Davis doesn’t plan to announce until Tuesday afternoon whether she’ll run for the 2nd Congressional District seat, she already is shooting barbs at potential opponent state Sen. Donne Trotter.

Trotter, D-17th, who said he will run, was arrested last week after security at O’Hare Airport found an unloaded gun and bullets in his carry-on bag. […]

“Who forgets they have a gun in their bag? As a legislator you have to be thinking at all times, and obviously, Sen. Trotter was not thinking when he left home that day,” Davis said.

Davis said she will meet with a group of South Side ministers Tuesday before deciding whether to run for the seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr.

“I am meeting with a coalition of ministers … who are in support of me running for Congress, and once I see what kind of support I have out there, I will make my decision,”

Trotter’s cousin ran against Davis a few years ago, and the two do not have a good relationship, to say the least. I talked to Davis this morning, and she hasn’t yet made up her mind about a run.

* And check this out. John Vernon Moore is backing Robin Kelly for Congress and posted Kelly’s comment about yesterday’s appellate court ruling on a Facebook page dedicated to helping find a good candidate. Debbie Halvorson, who has announced she’s also running for the seat, then posted a comment…

There will be much discussion on this issue. The state legislature now has to pass a bill that will deal with the decision made by the court of appeals allowing concealed carry. It is my hope that whatever they pass that it includes education and training. In my 12 years as a state senator and my two years in Congress I have been a consistent supporter of the second amendment with protections for the law abiding citizen and I will continue to support the law abiding citizen’s ability to protect themselves and do everything in my power to enforce the laws that are already on the books to convict our criminals that do harm and who are causing this violence. Criminals will always find a way to get their hands on a weapon. But by keeping them out of the hands of the law abiding citizen is doing more harm than good. I am not going to debate my position here on FB. This is just a statement and I look forward to how the state legislature is going to deal with this issue in the coming months.

I’m not debating, I’m just saying.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Fight for the Straw Tan Cards - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 11:57 am:

    Execute Operation Fishing Expedition…

  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 11:58 am:

    –That doesn’t bode well for Trotter at all.–

    Or ham sandwiches.

    It’s a way for Alvarez to take some heat off of herself. “Hey, I didn’t indict him — it was the Grand Jury. My hands are tied.”

  3. - Quinn T. Sential - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:07 pm:

    Durkin doesnt bill out at $500/hr.+ because of his good looks. He took his best shot, and fired a blank. He is not out of ammunition just yet, but now he has a moving target and he is standing on uneven ground.

    So now begs the question, did they empanel a grand jury for the (white female) flight attendant as well, or just the (black male) elected official?

    The make up of the grand jury here will come into play, in much the same way the jury will if there is an indictment and trial. Criminal background checks might be a good idea, I’m just saying.

    Trotter has a problem with the “knowingly” provision of the statute due to alleged statements on placing hus own weapon in his own bag himself.

    People skittish about the upcoming concealed carry law may be less forgiving for someone who musplaces their gun outside their home, and while traveling to or through a public place.

    People licensed and permitted to carry a weapon may concur, or might reason with other panel members as to the innocuous nature if the weapon as transported.

    Finally, others might look at the carelessness and wonder, what if he was still at home, and carelessly left this somewhere accessible and God forbid one of his grandchildren found it. They may view prosecution as punishment for Hus carelessness.

    Much to ponder, and much to lose, and Alverez has punted the initial phase to 12 angry men, and/or women.

  4. - The Captain - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:21 pm:

    No offense to John Moore who I’ve always liked but of all the thins Halvorson could be doing right now why is she debating his facebook page? Petitions/fundraising/hiring/slating calls, all of those are good already?

  5. - Fight for the Straw Tan Cards - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:22 pm:

    There is a grand jury because there is more than just a dope who forgot his gun in his carry on here. There is a grand jury because we have a company that gave a tan card to someone who they aren’t paying, begging the question who else has one. The firm is also a minority/woman-owned contractor with the city, and that’s suspect which ties in Chico. And all of that stuff is in play even if the UUW hammer comes down because the legislature doesn’t act because defrauding the government is always wrong.

    The “forgetful” Senator isn’t the issue. Straw tan cards and a shady contractor exposed by this dope are.

  6. - Frank - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:25 pm:

    The grand jury is all about Alvarez opening a secondary investigation to see if the security company Trotter works for is handing out badges and gun carry permits to connected people who have never actually worked as security guards.

    If true, it reminds me of what the Cook County Sheriff’s Office did in the 70’s and 80’s. They passed out thousands of “part-time deputy” badges to politicians and campaign contributors, few of whom actually ever worked as a deputy.

  7. - Just Observing - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:27 pm:

    @Fight for the Straw Tan Cards — I doubt the grand jury will be asked to consider that issue — it probably would not even be allowed to be introduced — that is likely an issue to be looked at separately.

  8. - amalia - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:27 pm:

    wow, she asks for a grand jury investigation and people get upset. she doesn’t ask for a grand jury investigation for other cases and people get upset. how about she’s just trying to do the best for the case at hand, whatever the case may be? cases are individual, not blanket procedure. this case involves an elected official, a connected company that got contract awards and “employed” the elected official who says the gun he was carrying was in connection with his job, a gun which is not the type that such a job would use. that spells grand jury to me.

  9. - girlawyer - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:30 pm:

    Taking something to a grand jury doesn’t always mean an investigation. Grand juries also provide a closed alternative to a public preliminary hearing. BTW, a grand jury is not 12 people, it is 16 That’s what makes it “grand” (translated: large)

  10. - the Other Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:35 pm:

    While I agree that Halvorson probably could be using her time better than responding to Facebook posts, I understand her strategy here. She is looking to win on the strength of a divided African American vote in the 2nd CD. Her statement has enough to appeal to gun-loving Democrats (and there are more than a couple), while still showing enough restraint to keep pro-gun control suburbanites in her camp. And it provides a subtle dig at Trotter, while still appearing to be above the fray.

    I don’t know if it will work, but I think I understand what she’s trying to do.

  11. - LilLebowskiUrbanAchiever - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:36 pm:

    Run Monique Run!!!

  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:48 pm:

    amalia, you have regularly defended Alvarez through thick and thin. I admire your tenacity. However, you are what you are - a shill. So, don’t expect to be taken all that seriously on this topic.

  13. - ILPoliticalJunkie - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:49 pm:

    Alvarez is about to upset more people within her party for taking this case to a grand jury.

    If Monique runs, then at least we will have one entertaining candidate in the race…

  14. - amalia - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:52 pm:

    @Rich, wow, hilarious. I have nothing to do with her. I mean it, nothing. it is purely observation and experience.

  15. - Just Me - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 12:57 pm:

    Re: Davis — it is interesting to see that the Republican Party isn’t the only political group that can’t get along with itself these days.

  16. - Jojo - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 1:02 pm:

    Just Observing– The grand jury is completely controlled by the State’s Atty. She can use it to investigate how Trotter pays for his bow ties if she wants.

  17. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 1:16 pm:

    To put this into context, it would help to know how Alvarez’s office usually deals with this type of case. When O’Hare and Midway travelers are caught with guns, does the case typically end up in front of the grand jury? If Trotter is being treated differently, she should say why.

  18. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    So if a grand jury can indict a ham sandwich, they can also choose to not indict, right.

    It all depends on the questioning done in secret.

    Not good for our system.

  19. - OneMan - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 1:47 pm:

    Doubt if she is going to turn this into a fishing expedition. Think she is going to focus on the O’Hare thing and let the other questions play out.

  20. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 2:02 pm:

    ===who allegedly committed the same type of offenses at O’Hare that very same week.===


  21. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 2:13 pm:

    @ Rich Miller: You’re right, I was looking at national figures, not just O’Hare. Please remove my comment.

  22. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 2:17 pm:

    Is this the same Rep. Monique Davis that “borrowed” an expensive statue from CSU in the recent past?

    I pity the constituents of this district…the only decent candidates thus far IMHO are Hutchinson and maybe Kelley…

  23. - Irish - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 2:50 pm:

    I would guess that Ms. Alverez is asking for a grand jury for the following reasons, some already named above.

    Given her 60 Minutes interview she doesn’t want to look like she is looking away.

    Given Trotter’s popularity she doessn’t want to be the one going after him.

    She probably does not want to pursue the other questions and make it look like a witch hunt so if the grand jury goes in that direction she will be forced to comply, and be able to claim that.

    Other directions would be, does Trotter really work at the security firm?

    If so why did he not claim any income from that job?

    Who else “works ” for the firm?

    And the one question I have is this. Mr. Trotter claims he just got off his job at the security firm and was headed for Washington DC and did not realize the gun was in his luggage.
    Really? Does Mr. Trotter keep the gun in his luggage when he is working? That would seem to defeat the purpose of having it. ” Hang on Pal don’t move until I can get my gun out of my luggage in the trunk of my car.”

    Where does he keep it on the days when he does not have his luggage? I would assume on his person, after all he does have a permit.

    So there would seem to be a process at the beginning of his shift and at the end of his shift at the security firm when a decision of getting the gun and then putting away the gun would have to be made. I would think this would then create a routine; get the gun, put the gun away, much like the rest of us do with our house keys, etc. Following that premise how does one not say “I am headed to the airport right after work so I will have to figure out what to do with the gun before I get there.”

    OR he really does not work at the security firm, hence no income, but was issued a permit by the firm, and carries the gun with him most of the time, in spite of not having it registered.

  24. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 3:31 pm:

    Irish, good summary.
    A couple more questions that might come up:
    Where/Who was the security “job” you were working on the evening in question?
    Do you work in uniform or plainclothes?
    Do you file any “shift reports” at the end of a tour of guard duty?

    Personally, I like the ham sammich’s chances of escaping better at this point.

  25. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 3:37 pm:

    Uh, why do you think Mr. Trotter will be testifying before the grand jury?

    If Anita is actually investigating, they’ll start with subpoenaing records from the security firm.

  26. - Casual Observer - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 3:52 pm:

    Does anyone know how the gun and clip were in the bag? Were they just tossed into a side pocket or was it more conspicuous like having the gun stuffed in a pair of socks and the clip rolled up in T-shirts? Wouldn’t knowing that help determine intent?

  27. - Lobo Y Olla - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 4:05 pm:

    Defendant’s don’t testify at the Grand Jury. Not ever.

  28. - Esquire - Wednesday, Dec 12, 12 @ 4:36 pm:

    Monique Davis is in no position to criticize anyone. I remember when she took ownership of the statue from Chicago State. I also recall when she used an anti-Semitic slur to describe the President of Northwestern U.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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