SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Smith “hounded for weeks” by federal mole

Wednesday, Jun 4, 2014

* Sun-Times

The pile of 70 crisp $100 bills had been neatly stacked into bundles.

“One, two, three, four, five — damn, stuck together, six, seven,” the federal mole counted out loud, as he handed over an alleged $7,000 bribe to state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago.

“You don’t want me to give you yours now?” Smith replied as they sat together in his parked car on a West Side street.

“I’ll get at you later,” the mole told him, splitting without taking his cut.

Played in court for jurors Tuesday, a devastating audio recording of that March 10, 2012, conversation could land Smith in prison.

* But Eric Zorn points to this Tribune excerpt

State Rep. Derrick Smith had been hounded for weeks by a campaign worker intent on bringing him a $7,000 bribe from a day care worker who needed a letter of support to win a state grant. In secretly recorded conversations, the campaign worker – a felon named Pete who was cooperating with the FBI – had asked Smith repeatedly when he was going to write the letter and how he wanted to receive his kickback. …The recordings depicted a frazzled Smith who was trying to win his first election since his appointment to the legislature a year earlier. Many of the conversations played out over the phone while Smith was either headed to or from Springfield. He expressed disappointment and mistrust of other campaign workers and also frustration over Pete’s continued push for the letter of support, even though he hadn’t given Smith the details about the project.

That story has since been rewritten and no longer appears on the website as it is above.

* But here is one excerpt from the re-written piece along those same lines

[FBI Special Agent Bryan Butler] also acknowledged that Pete didn’t always play by the rules. He used up to five different cell phones during the investigation despite the request by agents that he use only one. Pete also met with Smith without telling agents and many conversations went unrecorded, Butler said.

Besides capturing the alleged bribe in progress, the conversations that jurors have heard offer a glimpse into Smith’s campaign. In several calls, Smith expressed disappointment and mistrust of other campaign workers and worried about the correct strategy against his opponent, Tom Swiss, whom Smith described as “white and Republican.”

But by March, Smith seemed optimistic that his campaign had gained traction and he would prevail. But in other calls, he seemed frustrated over Pete’s continued push for the letter of support even though he hadn’t given Smith the details about the project.

“This stuff is serious,” Smith said in another conversation.

Later, Smith was given a draft letter that purportedly was from the day care operator but had actually been written by the FBI. Smith balked at the lack of detail in the draft and sent it back to Pete asking for it to be fleshed out. After a second try, the FBI got it right – Smith’s office sent an email back to the day care saying his signature would be on it soon.

* Zorn’s conclusion

I’m not a lawyer but I do know enough law to realize that the entrapment defense is usually a stretch. Even still, gee, from what I read it looks an awful lot like this informant hassled Smith until Smith yielded to the temptation of some easy “cheddar.”

Look, Smith probably deserves whatever he’s gonna get.

But Zorn does have a point. When is enough enough? Don’t the feds have more important things to do than repeatedly dangle cash in front of somebody over a period of several weeks until he finally takes the bait?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


27 Comments
  1. - Knome Sane - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    Going after Smith isn’t even going after “low hanging fruit”. It’s more like picking fruit off the ground. I am not suggesting that corruption is runnuing rampant in Springfield, but sheesh, even after the Blago fiasco, there has to be more to the situation i Springfield than bringing down that fat cat, Derrick Smith.


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:04 am:

    Some feds were looking for an easy score and got one.

    They do that sometimes. It’s good for some careers.

    Changes nothing in terms of good government or public safety.


  3. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    the nsa has every thing recorded for my safetey were`s it at?


  4. - Walker - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    Smith deserves whatever happens, given his lack of sense and ethics.

    The Feds appeared desperate for a case, and hounded the most rookie, pressured, and naïve legislator to get one.

    Hardly a big fish in any barrel.

    There is real corruption among more powerful and moneyed interests. Can’t the Feds have spent their time finding some of that, rather than creating their own with a minor player at best?


  5. - Knome Sane - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:12 am:

    =Some feds were looking for an easy score and got one.=

    Good point. But other than the self-inflicted pain Blago brought on himself, there seems to be a dearth of pink guys getting indicted. JJJ, Beavers, Sanchez, Smith, Ford, etc, etc. Take Blago and his cabal out of the equation, and it’s tough to name the last Caucasian indicted by “the Man”.


  6. - Upon Further Review - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:18 am:

    Tom Swiss is white and he was formerly a Republican ward committeeman. He ran as a Democrat in a bid to upset Smith.


  7. - Sir Reel - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:20 am:

    Maybe Smith was “hounded” but he could’ve told “Pete” to stop and if he didn’t, he could’ve fired him. Not that complicated.


  8. - Walker - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    Smith believed a non-profit was struggling and needed a state grant, and also had $7Gs to give him just for a letter?

    The guy wouldn’t even take his cut on the spot? Smith should have thrown the money back at him and walked away.

    Smith trusted this guy enough to complain about other staff with him?

    This con played some con.


  9. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:22 am:

    How long do you keep someone around who is forever telling you to commit a crime? And, say you are a government official?

    Smith is blitheringly stupid.


  10. - Abe the Babe - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:23 am:

    This is how you easily skip a few rungs in the FBI promotion ladder.

    Its press releases for the boss and career fast tracking for you.


  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:24 am:

    ===Smith is blitheringly stupid. ===

    No doubt.


  12. - downstate hack - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    It seems the FBI went overboard. It doesn’t mean Smith isn’t guilty and/or incredibly stupid, but a jury certainly will have to consider an entrapment defense.


  13. - x ace - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    ” When is enough enough ? ” - likely Smith’s Lawyer’s final argument mantra in this trial of the ” FBI and their Paid Overreaching Snitch”.


  14. - Steve - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 11:40 am:

    Smarter politicians understand that taking a cash bribe could land you in jail. Resisting shouldn’t be difficult if you want to be clean and out of jail.


  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    ===Resisting shouldn’t be difficult if you want to be clean and out of jail. ===

    Again, I don’t disagree. But that’s beside the point.


  16. - Steve - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    There’s no doubt that this case opens up the methods the FBI is using. Illinois isn’t the only state the FBI has targeted state legislators. A jury will have to decide if this was entrapment.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/03/26/fbi-conducts-raids-targeting-elected-officials-in-three-states/

    It’s sad to say but past politicians rightly or wrongly have given Illinois a bad reputation which makes Illinois politicians a target for the FBI.

    http://www.uic.edu/depts/pols/ChicagoPolitics/leadingthepack.pdf


  17. - Walker - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 2:30 pm:

    If you,re going to target and create a trap for someone for political corruption, better to target someone with the power to do significant damage.


  18. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    The mole was also a career snitch–since 1994.

    Also, the judge barred Smith from using an entrapment defense.

    http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/smiths-attorneys-attack-mole-bribery-case-against-lawmaker/fri-05302014-324pm


  19. - concern1 - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    $7,000 isn’t even close to $55 million and when do we get to see that trial


  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    I pointed out my suspicions regarding this mole when this story first broke.

    The missing tapes and conversations is just too, too much for me.


  21. - x ace - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 6:09 pm:

    Defense doesn’t get formal entrapment defense or instruction , but still got ” Enough is Enough ” concept of dirty pool. Get one juror to steadfastly believe that the persistent conduct of the paid “missing” set up man stinks and Smith avoids conviction.
    Interesting case and can see why it’s being tried.


  22. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 7:08 pm:

    As I’ve watched the last few federal trials of Illinois officials, I have noticed that no, in a whole lot of matters, the jury doesn’t get to decide. They don’t even get to hear the argument about whether they get to decide. The judges appear to very narrowly limit what juries see on a lot of issues the defense wishes to raise, and which by the way I think juries would be symaptheic to.


  23. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:46 pm:

    @Schnorf

    All it takes is one person for a mistrial. The first Blago trial is a good example, since on about half the counts there was 11 to 1. That the FBI admitted to a host of “mistakes” (the agent’s words on the stand) might be all it takes.

    I think what is important to keep in mind here is that the legal system isn’t necessarily designed to get “the ultimate truth.” Alan Dershowitz’s comments to Frontline about the OJ Simpson murder trial are informative on that subject in regards to what we see as members of a jury versus what we see as people who watch trials on television or follow them via the media.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/oj/themes/jury.html


  24. - persecuted - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 10:48 pm:

    All Smith had to do was say no and politely ask the man not to call or return to Smith’s place of business; he chose not to do either of those things. Temptations occur from cradle to grave.


  25. - A guy... - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    Something to consider: the Feds were fishing in a particular pond. No doubt Smith was a minnow, but might turn into bait going further up a particular food chain. Apparently it may not have attracted what or who were the ultimate fish. So, they cut bait and racked up this guy. In my mind, Smith was an entry level to somewhere else and the trail got cold. It’s hard to explain it any other way.


  26. - D.P.Gumby - Thursday, Jun 5, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    Schnorf–on point. The Feds have demonstrated a disturbing practice of targeting, entrapping and then doing their best to twist the legal system to gain convictions rather than do justice. When the investigations and trials look as unsavory as the defendants it is extremely distressing.


  27. - http://www.dailymotion.com - Tuesday, Jun 17, 14 @ 6:26 am:

    Hi there superb website! Does running a blog such as this take a great deal of work?
    I have no expertise in computer programming however I had been hoping
    to start my own blog in the near future. Anyhow, if you have any ideas or tips for new blog owners
    please share. I know this is off subject nevertheless I
    just wanted to ask. Many thanks!


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Not nearly enough
* AG Madigan files blistering motion against Rutherford accuser
* Rauner again pushes for Uber reg veto
* Poll: 84 percent of Chicagoans want minimum wage hiked to $13 an hour
* Adventures in economic development
* Adventures in lousy governance
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rate the new Bill Enyart TV ad
* Another way of looking at employment, and another look at labor participation rates
* Today's long read
* More Cayman Islands stuff
* Right county, wrong state
* Manufacturing news
* Unclear on the concept
* Rauner attacks Quinn on job numbers while Quinn hits back on tax filing
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * OneNote now supports handwriting, better tablet experience
        * Talking On Tablets On The Rise In Asia
        * Lumia 1020 passes the concert test
        * Michael Halbherr Steps Down As CEO Of Here, Nokia’s Location And Mapping Division
        * Android 4.4.3 rolling out to European HTC One M7 devices
        * Sharp Aquos Crystal hands-on: bleeding-edge style on a budget (Video)
        * iPhone 6 LTE-A, HTC One M8 for Windows, Pebble WebOS team & more – Pocketnow Daily

        * The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt 35min Extended Gameplay Demo (video)
        * 4 Tips to Create the Perfect Cover Photo on Any Social Network
        * Samsung Galaxy Note 4 May Feature An Ultrasonic Cover
        * Eve Smart Home Irrigation Systems Save You Money And Time (video)
        * Facebook For Android Could Be Getting Built-In Browser
        * Parallels Desktop 10 For Mac Announced With OS X 10.10 Support
        * Resident Evil Revelations 2 Lisitng Appears On Xbox Website

        * Chicago turns to Noesi in finale with Baltimore
        * Trouble finds Quintana late vs. Orioles
        * Abreu's homerless streak at an end
        * Orioles 5, White Sox 1: Bats, Hawk put on ice
        * Trouble finds Quintana late vs. Orioles
        * Hawk does ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
        * Abreu's homerless streak at an end


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats -.....
        * Private lottery operator just shy of revenue go.....
        * Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats..
        * New Law Raises Concussion Awareness..
        * Pigs, cows and votes..
        * The truth behind Illinois' jobless rate - Chica.....
        * Quinn proposes changes to condo fees bill..


        * Official: 4 of 6 child hostages freed in Harvey
        * Clock ticks on Illinois term limits ballot measure
        * Quinn proposes changes to condo fees bill
        * Officials: Gunman holds hostages in Chicago suburb
        * Roosevelt University to cut back suburban campus
        * Exelon formally files to acquire Pepco Holdings
        * Law aims to prevent student athlete concussions
        * Newspaper: Rauner firm had Cayman investment funds
        * Starved Rock trails begin to re-open to public
        * Emanuel: 57 public schools get air conditioning

        * Manar, others tout school funding reform bill
        * Vallas attacks, Rauner defends businesses, investments
        * Vallas attacks, Rauner defends businesses and investments
        * State retiree insurance premiums to drop
        * State retiree insurance premiums dropping to pre-July 1 levels
        * Sanguinetti expresses love for Springfield, says ‘cow tipping’ comment was ‘jovial’
        * Vallas attacks Rauner's businesses, investments
        * Quinn emphasizes connection to ‘everyday people,’ Rauner’s wealth during Democratic rally
        * Vallas attacks Rauner’s businesses, investments
        * Rauner urges quick decision on term limits measure

        * Leslie Hindman launches online auction site with other houses
        * Uber hires Obama campaign guru to wage regulatory fight
        * Rauner firm had Cayman investment funds: report
        * Lighten up on pot, toughen up on guns, state's attorney says
        * Top media exec leaves MillerCoors for General Mills


        * Man dead in police-involved shooting on Far South Side
        * Man dead in police-involved shooting in Riverdale
        * Jackie Robinson West fans agree: ‘These young brothers are phenomenal!’
        * 4 children released in Harvey hostage standoff
        * Parents urge CPS to OK new Chatham site for Concept school
        * $1 million pledge changes Lewis’ ‘calculus’ — but not her timeline
        * National school union would put $1 million into Karen Lewis mayoral campaign
        * Woman found dead in Bali got $840,000 in a cruise line settlement
        * Man charged in murder of 8-year-old daughter dies in jail hospital
        * Ferguson, race and remedies


        * Man, woman dead in apparent murder-suicide in Bridgeport
        * Illinois grads made progress on ACT, but numbers troubling
        * 1 dead in police-involved shooting on Far South Side
        * At least 3 hurt in South Side shooting
        * 4th child released after 2 cops shot in Harvey as "very intense" hostage situation continues
        * Karen Lewis inches closer to challenging Mayor Rahm Emanuel
        * Hundreds at Chicago party cheer city's Little Leaguers on to victory
        * Court ruling revives plans for Lincolnwood gun range
        * Chicagoan arrested in Ferguson: Shooting 'worth getting angry about'
        * Girl who died in Arlington Heights pool identified


        * Callis Says Plenty Of People Worried About Jobs, Economy
        * Rauner Blasts Quinn On "Failed" Policies, Governor's Mansion
        * Rauner Pressures Illinois Supreme Court To Rule On Term Limits
        * WUIS/SJ-R Business Report: The Future Of The Esquire Theatre; Slowing Downtown Spfld. Traffic
        * It's like the first day every day in popular 'Feelings' class
        * Classic Musical 'The Pajama Game' At New Salem
        * Push Continues For School Funding Overhaul
        * Mascots, Class Warfare, Rallies: Democrats Fight To Hold Onto Power
        * Rodney Davis Says "Do Nothing Congress" Criticism Unfair
        * Anti-Fracking Activists Crash Democrat Breakfast


        * Manar, others tout school funding reform bill
        * Michael Gerson: Rand Paul’s bogus outreach
        * Our Opinion: Double down on outside lottery management
        * Vallas attacks, Rauner defends businesses and investments
        * State retiree insurance premiums dropping to pre-July 1 levels
        * Rauner urges quick decision on term limits measure
        * Audit: Illinois overdrew federal Medicaid dollars
        * Blagojevich, state corruption feature in ruling
        * State hearing to focus on cutting greenhouse gases
        * GOP newcomers say lack of experience is an asset


        * Bus hits truck, two suffer minor injuries
        * A forecast you'll sweat over
        * (No heading)
        * Landowners ask Shelby County Board for help with tubers
        * Police: Robber took shower, left evidence, caught
        * Decatur man on trial for attempted murder
        * Scholarships continue to grow at Richland
        * Suspect sought in Oakland bank robbery
        * Flock of freshmen
        * $21,000 falls off money truck after casino pickup


        * After 4½-hour delay, Cubs declared the winner at 1:15 a.m.
        * American photojournalist executed, Islamic State says
        * Dawn Patrol: 4½-hour wait for a Cubs win; U-46 minority program flap
        * After 4½-hour delay, Cubs declared the winner after 1:15 a.m.
        * Rain causes headaches in Cubs' opener with Giants

        * Rubio outlines his vision for America duri...
        * Chicago Housing Authority changes supervou...
        * What millennials want to hear from politic...
        * Aaron Schock on what millennials want (Opi...
        * Fun little stuff - The Capitol Fax Blog (b...
        * Aaron Schock: Rauner and I put differences...
        * Aaron Schock has the best Instagram accoun...
        * Facebook's Small Business Boost in Peoria ...
        * Facebook, Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce ...
        * Schock legislation would reduce waste, exp...

        * Kirk, Durbin, Kelly Applaud Opportunity to......
        * Kirk, Durbin, Kelly Applaud Opportunity to......
        * Public meeting Aug.21 to discuss Chicago’s......
        * Public meeting Aug.21 to discuss Chicago’s......
        * Public meeting Aug.21 to discuss Chicago’s......

        * Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats...
        * Express Importance of Bank Reauthorization......
        * Public meeting Aug.21 to discuss Chicago’s......

        * Sun-Times Columnist Mary Mitchell Wants Black Jesus To Get Off Her Lawn
        * Chicago 1984
        * Making sure ‘fans’ won’t defect
        * A politician from the Democratic machine of Chicago "gets even"
        * Comment on Despite What Quinn Claims, Illinois Leads In Job Loss by » Despite What Quinn Claims, Illinois Leads In Job Loss
        * ALS awareness ribbon
        * AFT Would Donate $1 Million To Lewis' Campaign If She Runs For Mayor
        * Eyes On 2016? Clinton Goes To Iowa Next Month
        * Quinn Signs Law Improving Latino Data Collection
        * Rauner Urges Quick Decision On Term Limits Measure


        * ICYMI: Rauner urges quick decision on term limits measure
        * Top Obama Adviser Joins Uber – What Will Quinn Do?
        * Rauner Statement on Quinn Celebrating Thousands Giving Up on Work
        * Governor Quinn Signs Law to Help Prevent Concussions Among High School Athletes - Law Requires Illinois High Schools to Train Athletic Directors and Coaches on Concussion Reduction
        * IDHS/DRS helps more than 5,000 individuals with disabilities find jobs - Program provides necessary tools to earn a living wage and become more independent




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller