* Rep. Derrick Smith’s attorney Vic Henderson went after the federal prosecutor’s case during yesterday’s opening arguments…
The [FBI] mole was someone who was “down on his luck — he always needed money, always needed a place to stay,” Henderson said. “Because Derrick was a kind-hearted guy, he tried to help out.”
But the mole tricked both Smith and the feds by only recording some of the phone calls and conversations he had with Smith, Henderson alleged.
And Henderson denied Smith had confessed to the FBI, saying Smith had merely admitted he “messed up” by trusting the mole.
Though he acknowledged Smith wrote the letter in support of the grant application, Henderson said “that was his job — he supported anyone who came to him from his district.”
Calling Smith a “baby legislator” who was desperate to hold onto his seat and needed money, he told jurors “there’s a lot you haven’t heard.”
* But the case against Smith appears pretty darned solid…
As the 2012 election season loomed, the campaign worker went to the FBI offering to wear a wire and record Smith scheming to receive a bribe, prosecutor Michael Donovan told jurors at the Chicago trial.
In a transcript of one recorded conversation displayed by Donovan on a large courtroom screen, Smith rejects Pete’s suggestion that he accept the money in a traceable cashier’s check.
“OK. Cash?” responds the informant.
“Yeah,” the legislator answers, “I don’t want no trace of it.”
In another recorded conversation, Smith tells Pete he needs plausible deniability, saying, “I don’t let the left hand know what the right hand is doing, man.”