LIVE session coverage...
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.


* Good morning!
* 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

          
        * Google to launch Brillo, another Android OS for the Internet of Things
        * Product reviews will never be perfect, but they're still better than ever
        * Smart uses for smart albums in Photos for OS X
        * Project Fi team to send all invites until mid-summer
        * 13-inch MacBook Air review: Apple's affordable laptop nicely blends performance and portability
        * Pebble Time units to start shipping out on May 27
        * Outer Space Games for your Lumia

        * LG G Pad F 8.0 For AT&T Announced
        * Sphero Darkside Unveiled For $129
        * Ford F-150 Can Back up a Trailer for You
        * Apple Store App Gets Two Step Authentication
        * What to Expect When You’re Expecting Code (Video)
        * D.C. Lawmakers Unleashed — In 140 Characters or Less
        * Apple Store App Updated With Two-Step Authentication

        * Danks dinged early as Sox drop third straight
        * Danks dinged early as Sox drop third straight
        * Offense lacking, arms shaky in first home series loss
        * Danks dinged early as Sox drop third straight
        * Indians 5, White Sox 2: A total team loss
        * Sox backstops struggling to find groove at plate
        * White Sox forming 'special' bond in clubhouse

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


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

        Archives
        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


        * Madigan's 'millionaire tax' question fails in H.....
        * Dawn Patrol: PARCC test to be shortened; Blackh.....
        * Medical marijuana pilot program extension heade.....
        * Legislators vote no on Illinois millionaire tax..
        * Voice of The Southern: The dying deserve a choice..
        * Illinois Senate passes marijuana decriminalizat.....
        * Millionaire's tax has poor showing in House vote..


        * Blues great B.B. King's daughter to host Vegas Strip event
        * Madigan postpones millionaire tax bill after failed vote
        * Gov. Rauner softens some 'Turnaround Agenda' demands
        * 53 people in 9 states sickened after eating raw tuna
        * Illinois moves to downgrade pot possession to a fine
        * 4 people killed in traffic accident near Galena
        * Illinois Democrats working on budget without GOP governor
        * Lawmakers approve extension in medical marijuana program
        * EPA proposes $10M plan to remove tar-like liquids
        * Ex-hospital director pleads guilty to embezzling $700,000

        * Millionaire tax falls short in Illinois House
        * Gov. Rauner softens some 'turnaround agenda' demands amid ongoing budget battle
        * Illinois State Board of Education promises shorter PARCC exam next school year
        * Union bulletin: Gov. Rauner wants wage freeze, vacation and holiday time reductions
        * Illinois Senate approves bill allowing bobcat hunting
        * Senate approves extension of medical marijuana trial program
        * Bill treating marijuana possession like speeding ticket passes Senate
        * Millionaire tax falls short in House
        * State board promises shorter PARCC exam next school year
        * Fired employees of former state Treasurer Dan Rutherford seek back pay, threaten lawsuit

        * Want to get rid of email? These companies are
        * You can race an America's Cup yacht on Lake Michigan
        * An earthquake brings a banker back to Chicago
        * Illinois Democrats working on budget without Rauner
        * Illinois Senate votes to OK fines for marijuana possession


          * Man accused of murdering his mother, injuring his brother
          * 1 dead, 6 wounded in city violence
          * Rauner puts parts of agenda into bill form
          * Boy, 16, charged in shooting of 7-year-old in Morgan Park
          * Curtain rises Saturday on $100 million Riverwalk extension
          * Rauner 'Turnaround' tour not producing results so far
          * Lawsuit: White Sox, Cell owner should have kept couple from being assaulted
          * Life sentence for convict in Hyde Park robbery, attempted assault
          * Report: Illinois college chiefs living in 'fantasy world of lavish perks'
          * Man sentenced for threatening 13-year-old boy


          * Emanuel calls on Chicagoans to prevent 'lost generation'
          * Grand Jury Indicts 6 Baltimore Officers In Freddie Gray's Death
          * Inauguration Day: New City Council faces serious financial problems
          * Avian flu outbreak takes poultry producers into uncharted territory
          * C4 will remain open in partnership with County Care
          * The unsung hero of urban planning who made it easy to get around Chicago
          * Illinois advancing measure to divest in companies boycotting Israel
          * Emanuel says no 'three-strike rule' over parks for Riot Fest
          * Charters might move into closed CPS schools
          * Expert panel criticizes medical care at Illinois prisons


          * Millionaire tax falls short in Illinois House
          * Gov. Rauner softens some 'turnaround agenda' demands amid ongoing budget battle
          * Illinois State Board of Education promises shorter PARCC exam next school year
          * Union bulletin: Gov. Rauner wants wage freeze, vacation and holiday time reductions
          * Chris Hembrough and Tom Fitch: Invest in education to better the Illinois workforce
          * Sherman Elliott: Inequities penalize energy consumers
          * Tom Swoik: Education funding at stake in Illinois casino debate
          * Dr. David Fletcher: Wrong focus in Illinois workers' compensation debate
          * Dave Root: Illinois unwisely outsourcing PARCC assessments
          * E.J. Dionne: Progressive frenemies


          * Big Ten Tournament: Illinois v. Maryland 5/22/2015
          * A 'complicated' journey: The story of Logan and Memorial Day
          * Police step up enforcement during 'Click It or Ticket' campaign
          * Starting out dry, ending up wet
          * Habitat sets sights on Moline neighborhood
          * Davenport makes pitch for River 80 project
          * Donation boosts food bank Backpack program
          * Those who gave for others
          * Open Line
          * 'We just had a letdown'


          * New College of DuPage policies give trustees more control over president
          * Fun a crucial ingredient at Palatine's Cook, Cork & Fork
          * Developer promises unique workplace on ex-Motorola campus in Libertyville
          * Dawn Patrol: PARCC test to be shortened; Blackhwaks drop game 3 at home
          * EU, Ukraine sign $2 billion loan deal at Eastern summit

          * Obama: We're definitely not 'losing' in Ir...
          * Illinois Senate passes marijuana decrimina...
          * Marine Cole Van Dorn buried at Arlington, ...
          * Examining the tumult at Efland Cheeks School
          * Emmer named to House Financial Services Co...
          * Ari Fleischer: Obama ISIS Stance Not Fair ...
          * U.S. Rep. Thornberry Juggles Politics as P...
          * Tom Cotton: We shouldn't be ashamed of the...
          * Hero Street could get a commemorative coin
          * Cops Who Lost Guns Still Protecting GOP Le...

          * Republicans keep Obama trade agenda alive...
          * How the Senate got 60 votes for Obama on f......
          * GOP nuclear-waste strategy emerges, but wi......

          * House Passage of His Anti-Trafficking Legi......
          * Record Funding for Veterans' Care Passes A......
          * Zopp won’t answer SUPES questions...
          * New Labour leader Len Foster says change n......

          * By: Ramona
          * “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
          * Silent Movie Filmed In Uptown A Century Ago Rediscovered, Restored
          * A political cockfight?!?
          * Blowable
          * Beachwood Photo Booth: Chicagolandia
          * Sticking Around The Holiday Weekend? Free Concert At People's Music School
          * Mayor Emanuel swears to uphold Chicago for four more years
          * Illinois Republicans to attempt launch of Rauner's 'Turnaround Agenda' Friday
          * Leftist groups lock arms in Chicago's financial district to protest budget cuts


          * IDOT Suspends Non-Emergency Road Work for Memorial Day Holiday Weekend - Lanes Opened to Improve Traffic Flow
          * Illinois State Fire Marshal Recognizes EMS Week
          * IDOT, ISP: Drive Safe, Drive Smart Over Memorial Day Weekend - Click It or Ticket Campaign Continues, New “Driving Dead” Episode Debuts
          * Breakfast Club Fans Can Take Home Movie Memorabilia with Special 30th Anniversary Auction - Theater Chairs from Set of Iconic Movie Up for Sale
          * Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise to Noon on Monday, May 25, 2015.




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