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!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Another clue?
* And you think Rahm has troubles?
* Chaos is a feature, not a bug
* Our elected officials need to tell us: do you support the Chicago Teacher’s Union’s contract rejection?
* 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

  
* T-Mobile offers free LTE tablet, discounted iPad Air 2 and select Android phones for Valentine’s
* Verizon’s Galaxy Note 4 update brings bugfixes, latest security patches and optimized performance
* Facebook iOS App Under Fire Again for iPhone Battery Drain Issues
* Google to unveil a new Cardboard with better software, sensor, and build
* Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge+ reportedly scrapped in the UK, Galaxy Note 6 coming to Europe
* Samsung’s S Pen could soon double as a kickstand according to a trademark application at the USPTO
* Tim Cook tweets hilariously shoddy Super Bowl pic, iPhone haters instantly react

* This week in sabermetrics: The screwball, Mark Buehrle, and launch ...
* 2016 Fantasy Player Preview
* ALL TIME SSS POST AND REC TOTALS
* White Sox Minor Leaguer Shearrow suspended
* Spring not far away as truck heads to Arizona
* This week in White Sox: Sun sets on Andre Ethier rumor
* Did July change Chicago's offseason?

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


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

Archives
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
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


* TEACHERS UNION stalemate – O'HARE getting first.....
* Madigan joins the party - Champaign/Urbana News.....
* Leaders to Meet in Springfield - Alton Daily News..
* In response to the Editor's Note on Monetary Aw.....
* Budget Impasse Hurts Programs That Keep Offende.....
* Illinois State Museum Locations Could Reopen, P.....
* The only other state without a budget is Illino.....


* EXCHANGE: Little Free Library keeps kids reading
* Northern Illinois jail hopes to use wind turbine for power
* To cut nearly
* American to add 5 new gates at Chicago's O'Hare airport
* School funding overhaul again faces long odds in Springfield
* County filing insurance claim to recover funds lost by fraud
* Professor who wore headscarf to leave Christian college
* Illinois owes Springfield hospitals $76 million
* Court effort aims to link job placement with child support
* Police: Rockford's violent crimes surged 24 percent in 2015

* School funding overhaul again faces long odds in legislature
* School funding overhaul again faces long odds at Statehouse
* AFSCME reviews legal options in wake of member survey
* School funding overhaul again faces long odds
* Statehouse Insider: Three days until President Obama turns Illinois around
* Gaming Board seeks to revoke license of terminal operator
* Illinois Gaming Board seeks to revoke license of terminal operator
* Springfield awaits details on President Obama's visit on Wednesday
* Rauner alters bill that would reopen Illinois State Museum, includes admission fee directive
* IDOT, Amtrak reach agreement to maintain train service

* Changing Illinois' school funding formula faces long odds
* Too bad for Boeing—but this Rolling Meadows plant will get boost from Air Force bomber
* Small airlines to O'Hare brass: What about us?
* Why 'distressed' homes are so hot today
* What's the hottest job in Chicago tech today?


* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for Feb. 8
* Dear Abby: Parents keep paying the bills for son, 26
* School funding overhaul again faces long odds in Springfield
* BGA: CPS and DCFS failed Laquan McDonald
* City to expand full-day pre-kindergarten program
* Beyonce tour coming to Chicago May 27
* ‘The Good Wife’ in its final season, CBS announces
* 2 aldermen jump on TIF pain train to help CPS
* ‘Downton Abbey’ costumes exhibit finds perfect setting in Driehaus Museum
* Homicide detective in ‘disgusting’ photo kept on street


* No injuries when Metra train derails on BNSF, but delays expected
* City fails to warn Chicagoans about lead risks in tap water
* Woman recounts fatal police shooting: 'You hear all the shots. Then it got real quiet'
* 1 dead, 10 injured in Chicago shootings
* Veterans center in Portage Park to serve as 'community base'
* Pullman Porter Museum launches online registry of black railroad laborers
* Great Migration events slated for 2016
* Pullman Porter Museum launches online registry of black railroad laborers


* School funding overhaul again faces long odds in legislature
* U.S. Rep. John Shimkus: Come visit Galatia, Mr. President
* School funding overhaul again faces long odds at Statehouse
* AFSCME reviews legal options in wake of member survey
* School funding overhaul again faces long odds
* Our View: U.S. Senate candidates should debate outside Chicago
* Bernard Schoenburg: Poe backs Benton over McCann in 50th
* Austin Berg: Illinois manufacturers need bold action from Springfield
* Statehouse Insider: Three days until President Obama turns Illinois around
* Gaming Board seeks to revoke license of terminal operator


* Podcast: DSC Director of Development Janice McAteer 2/8/16
* UI embracing monkeying around for Lunar New Year
* College-accrediting agency sounds warning to legislators
* This day in history, Feb. 8, 2016
* 'Kung Fu Panda' kicks aside 'Caesar,' 'Zombies'
* Area history, Feb. 8, 2016
* Carson's integrity a winning quality
* Accountability for defying God's will
* Why are Windsor lanes still closed?
* Madigan joins the party


* Train derailment causing extensive delays on Metra's BNSF line
* North Korea's new satellite flew over Super Bowl site
* Dawn Patrol: Bullet found at Huntley High
* Police: Home health care worker stole $15,000 from Bartlett resident
* Tweet from Lynch indicates possible retirement

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Durbin to Rauner: “It's time to govern” - ......

* Sen. Kirk Introduces Bill to Ensure Retire......

* Morning Minute: Report finds fewer seriously underwater homeowners
* Maskel finds rewarding ways to help his community
* Mr Mayor: Knock Down This Wal-Mart Wall
* BW Chicago, We Hardly Knew Ye
* In Today's Biz World, Ties No Longer Bind
* Obama Must Give Hillary VP Call
* Uncoiling A Smart New COBRA Law
* Trucking Industry Death Toll Hits Home
* BW Chicago: Obama's Powerful Backers
* Joining Lt. Gov Pat Quinn's Team


* Emergency Management Officials, National Weather Service Encourage Winter Preparedness - November is Winter Weather Preparedness Month in Illinois
* Keep Your Family Safe This Winter - November through February are leading months for carbon monoxide related incidents
* Governor Takes Bill Action
* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact




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