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.


* Another angle on the IHSA lawsuit
* Was Rauner consultant behind anti-Schock ads?
* False equivalence taken too far
* The weekend in Facebook
* Subscribers Only - Events list (use last week's password)
* Question of the day
* Republicans look to the future
* *** UPDATED x1 - Beer tickets? *** OEIG: Rednour solicited a big gift, Bliefnick improperly accepted gifts
* Rauner investing heavily in campaign infrastructure
* Yet another stumble
* 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

          
        * Lumia – Your official city guide
        * Napster Owner Rhapsody Passes 2M Paying Users As It Extends unRadio To Europe
        * Yelp App Updated With Short Video Reviews
        * The evolution of the smartphone
        * iPhone 6 hardware upgrades, Moto/Google Nexus phablet, HTC One W8 & more – Pocketnow Daily
        * Smartphone giveaway: win a Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G LTE from Huawei and Pocketnow
        * Fitbit: New on Windows Phone 8.1

        * How to Streamline LinkedIn Sharing With Oktopost
        * New Retina MacBook Pro Range Launched
        * Nokia Lumia 720 Successor With “Selfie” Camera In The Works [Rumor]
        * Sense Kickstarter Project Raises $1 Million In Four Days
        * Assassin’s Creed Unity Animated Short Released
        * The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies Trailer (Video)
        * New Amazon Kindle Fire HDX With Snapdragon 805 Appears In Benchmarks

        * Podcast: Big Hurt, HOF
        * Frank Thomas lets it out, lets everybody in during Hall of Fame speech
        * This Week in White Sox Minor League Baseball
        * White Sox Minor League Update: July 27-Aug. 2
        * New draftee Rodon tops White Sox updated Top 20
        * White Sox focused on long-term at Trade Deadline
        * White Sox focused on long term at Trade Deadline


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

        Archives
        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


        * County clerks prepare for Election Day - Saukva.....
        * A tale of two budgets - Jacksonville Journal-Co.....
        * Gov. Quinn says state EPA will block PCBs from .....


        * Giant ketchup bottle draws tourists in Illinois
        * Chicago police officer wins discrimination suit
        * Giant ketchup bottle draws tourists in Illinois
        * No bond for 2 Chicago men accused of shooting boy
        * APNewsBreak: Illinois: Doctor faked pot paperwork
        * Quinn says state EPA will block PCBs from landfill
        * Illinois fair managers fined for free beer tickets
        * Cool summer keeping West Nile in check in Illinois
        * Illinois communities scramble to find road salt
        * Illinois coal exports dip in 2013 after sharp rise

        * Illinois State Fair manager fined by ethics commission for accepting free beer tickets
        * Sangamon County on its own for road salt
        * Sangamon County on its own for winter road salt
        * Lawyers will push to speed up pension reform ruling
        * Quinn says state EPA will block PCBs from Clinton landfill
        * State appeals court upholds FutureGen power agreement
        * Concealed carry rules tough on out-of-state residents
        * Regulators say Illinois doctor faked pot paperwork
        * Quinn aide: Court rulings don’t jeopardize federal health-care subsidies
        * Illinois communities scramble to find road salt

        * Illinois Medicaid restricts who can get 'game-changing' hepatitis drug
        * Illinois regulators say suburban Chicago doctor faked pot paperwork
        * Quinn turns up the volume on corporate HQ inversions: Ban 'em
        * Road salt in July? Illinois towns scrambling now for winter supplies
        * Inspector General: Metra workers falsified time sheets


        * Watchdog needs independence
        * West Side alderman rips Emanuel for missing Shamiya Adams’ funeral
        * Architectural team for Lucas museum includes woman behind Aqua Tower
        * Despite DUI convictions, ex-deputy keeps job, could retire with full pension
        * State Police: Ald. Rey Colon pulled over on Ike, accused of DUI
        * City to pay $1.2M to family of prep sports star fatally shot by cop
        * Ethics panel raps fair directors for violating ban on gifts
        * Police marine unit plucks woman from lake after watercraft flips
        * Addison woman, 2 daughters shot during robbery in Hammond
        * $2 million bail for man charged in fatal shooting of cabdriver


        * Police: Teen shot on West Side, man wounded in South Side robbery
        * State watchdog faults Metra for falsifying work logs
        * State watchdog faults Metra for falsifying work logs
        * Father of boy who drowned at McKinley Park pool sues Chicago Park District
        * FOP seeks to halt release of internal police misconduct files
        * Jury acquits man in fatal shooting of former Simeon, Eastern Michigan football star
        * Motorcyclist, 23, dies during Schaumburg crash
        * Cops: Concealed carry permit holder shoots at armed robbery suspect
        * Man sentenced to 2 life terms for killing pregnant woman
        * Palatine man dies 10 days after altercation outside bar


        * State Fair Officials Fined For Violating Gift Ban...For Beer Tickets
        * Inspector General Finds Old Metra Practice Could Lead To Fatigued Conductors
        * Exoneree Diaries: "You've got anger issues, Dad."
        * Clout On The Business Side of Medical Marijuana
        * So, when is it Jane Byrne's turn?
        * State Police Cancels New Trooper Training, Citing Budget
        * Feds' Immigrant Numbers For Illinois May Not Tell Whole Story
        * Listen to State Week - July 25, 2014
        * Inspector General Discloses Political Hiring Investigation
        * Man Robbed By Fake Police On I-55


        * Sangamon County on its own for road salt
        * Illinois State Fair manager fined by ethics commission for accepting free beer tickets
        * Me Inc. offers plenty of dividends
        * Quinn says state EPA will block PCBs from Clinton landfill
        * Regulators say Illinois doctor faked pot paperwork
        * Illinois communities scramble to find road salt
        * New law expands state Holocaust Commission
        * Quinn, Rauner budget plans debatable
        * Angie Muhs: Who will be the next First Citizen?
        * Tony Leone: Put the ALPLM under federal control


        * Project will restore Moline wetlands
        * Judith Price
        * Charlotte Avchen
        * Richard Short
        * Elizabeth Black
        * Louise Henry
        * Coy Halfacer
        * Eva Stanton
        * Helen Waldron-Rowatt
        * Helen Johnston


        * White Sox second to none at first base
        * Competition gets Houston, Mills fired up
        * Cubs' Wada earns first big-league win
        * Cubs work out trade for Barney to Dodgers
        * Judge: Elgin Mental health escapee to get fitness test

        * Roskam 'doubling down' on fundraising - Ch...
        * Officials push for funds to finish West Ch...
        * DuPage leaders on W. Chicago thorium clean...
        * Rep. Roskam: IRS Budget Cuts Best Way to C...
        * ASK PETER: Building a 21st Century Workfor...
        * Bipartisan House Bill Would Boost Communit...
        * House approves measures to reform housing ...
        * Schock Calls for Investigation into Chicag...
        * Was Rauner consultant behind anti-Schock a...
        * Roskam 'doubling down' on fundraising - Ch...

        * Senators Disagree on Israel Response...
        * Senator Durbin: State of Illinois Takes De......
        * Senator Durbin: State of Illinois Takes De......
        * Senator Durbin: State of Illinois Takes De......
        * Senator Durbin: State of Illinois Takes De......

        * Kirk: Hamas must be defeated...

        * Never be late for a job interview...
        * New Progressive Political Group To Officially Launch In Chicago
        * Quinn To Participate In Minimum Wage Challenge
        * Poll: Madigan Slightly Ahead Of GOP Opponent In Attorney General Race
        * Meeting On Future Of Chicago's Dyett High School
        * Audience At Chicago Community Meeting On Future Of Dyett High School
        * Chicago Community Meeting On Future Of Dyett High School
        * Workers At Golan's Moving And Storage Company In Skokie Hit The Picket Lines For A New Contract
        * Report Says Surveillance Is Hampering Journalists
        * William McNary, of Citizen Action/Illinois, speaks Friday at a protest against Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner


        * Hoy Op-Ed on Immigration
        * Governor Quinn Reminds Drivers to Take Caution in Work Zones, Directs State Agencies to Redouble Efforts to Protect Public and Workers - Encourages Public to Increase Vigilance Following I-55 Tragedy
        * Governor Quinn's Statement on the Unpatriotic Corporate Tax Inversion Loophole
        * Governor Quinn Statement on Eid al-Fitr
        * Regulators Charge Chicago Area Doctor with Cannabis Violations




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