*** UPDATE *** Bail was set at $25,000…
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
Trotter, who spent the night at Chicago Police Department lockup, was released around 1:10 p.m. He had to post 10 percent or $2,500 to bail out of jail.
A reporter asked Trotter if he was still running. The South Side lawmaker responded: “From you.”
* The state law that Sen. Donne Trotter is charged with violating…
It is unlawful for any person to board or attempt to board any commercial or charter aircraft, knowingly having in his or her possession any firearm, explosive of any type, or other lethal or dangerous weapon.
I highlighted that one word for obvious reasons. To convict him of a Class 4 felony, the Cook County State’s Attorney has to prove that Trotter knowingly had that pistol in his garment bag. Trotter contends that he forgot the empty pistol and a loaded clip were in the bag.
He did, however, vote for that law, so he should’ve been more careful than the average citizen. He knew the penalties.
…Adding… According to the Legislative Reference Bureau, the language in that above statute was actually first enacted in 1990. It was simply moved to a different part of the statute books. Trotter, however, did vote to increase the penalty to a felony from a misdemeanor in 2002.
* Also, there was a bunch of talk in comments yesterday and in at least one Sun-Times blog post about Trotter’s long ago opposition to concealed carry - as if that somehow applied here. He wasn’t carrying the pistol on his person. Apples and oranges.
But he certainly has voted against some pro-gun bills and voted for some gun control bills, even though he recently voted to override the governor’s attempt to use an amendatory veto to create a new assault weapons ban. Todd Vandermyde of the NRA defended Trotter repeatedly in comments yesterday. For instance…
It was a mistake, and the question is should he have is life ruined for a mistake?
Senator Trotter has had a mixed record on guns but with his new district that stretches down into Kankakee, he has kept an open mind.
I think the Sun times article is a hit piece devoid of context and taken from 1995. It’s 2012/13 I’m sure nobody ever changes their minds.
I see a difference between someone who didn’t “know” the gun was there and someone trying to evade security and sneak one on.
* But Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez recently charged a 65 year-old flight attendant with a felony for doing almost the same thing as Trotter...
An attorney for the American Airlines flight attendant arrested at O’Hare International Airport said the woman did not know there was a gun in her carry-on luggage.
Sheila A. Schultz, of Palatine, Ill., was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bail Saturday for allegedly trying to bring a gun onto an airplane at O’Hare International Airport. She was arrested Friday after an X-ray machine revealed the gun in her carry on luggage.
Defense attorney David Studenroth told the Associated Press the woman’s husband inadvertently left the fully loaded .22 caliber revolver in the bag and that Schultz had no idea it was there when she went through the O’Hare security checkpoint.
Schultz, 65, was arrested and charged with one class 4 felony count of attempting to board aircraft with a weapon and one misdemeanor count of of possessing a firearm without a valid FOID.
Schultz was heading to work that morning, scheduled to be on a flight to Shanghai, China, Studenroth said. She was passing through an O’Hare security checkpoint for employees when an X-ray machine detected something in her carry-on bag. A security worker allegedly recovered a .22-caliber revolver containing live rounds and held her for Chicago police.
“She was unaware that the handgun was in that bag,” Studenroth explained. “Her husband forgot to take it out.”
Her husband, who does possess a valid FOID card, had come back from a trip to Michigan. “They share the bag,” Studenroth said.
According to Studenroth, the statute says someone must commit the act “knowingly.”
“She did not knowingly possess that handgun,” he said.
* Meanwhile, the political damage to Trotter’s congressional campaign is pretty obvious, but his most important supporter is not backing away…
“I need to sit down and talk to him face to face and find out what exactly happened,” said Frank Zuccarelli, who is chairing the effort to slate a candidate for the 2nd congressional district. The special election to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. is scheduled for February and the field is growing by the day. Before his arrest, Trotter, who lives on the South Side, was thought to be a top-tier candidate.
Zuccarelli, who is the committeeman for Thornton Township, has publicly said he would back Trotter during slating. So far on Wednesday, that hadn’t changed.
“I am supporting him and he is my friend, I’m sure there is a good explanation for what happened,” said Zuccarelli. He said he had only communicated with Trotter by text. Trotter let him know he had been arrested. “We have to sit down and talk…I’m sure he’s together, Donne’s together. I’ve got confidence in him, he’s a good man.”
The head of the Cook County Democratic Party, Joe Berrios, said ultimately it would be up to Trotter to decide if he’s going to pull out of the race.
Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who used represent part of the district Trotter is seeking to represent, said it could hurt Trotter’s chances in the race.
“As far as political, the people of the district and the party leaders have to make a decision to put a person with this kind of baggage in the answer in the Second District,” Kinzinger said.
One political analyst says while this arrest might not derail his campaign, it doesn’t help in a district that has already seen more than its share of controversial candidates.
“One doesn’t understand how one can go on a plane this day and age,” the Director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University Paul Green said. “It will be used as an argument against him. It’s something he did but not a knock out.”
Trotter campaign slogans?