* After Rep. Derrick Smith’s guilty verdict was announced yesterday, a juror told the Tribune that the federal mole was “a slippery and disgusting character” and said the FBI’s investigation was “somewhat sleazy.” More from what the juror said…
Jason Carter, 29, said the jury’s reservations included the FBI’s use of an undercover informant and two-time felon – a man identified at trial only as “Pete” — who repeatedly pushed the West Side legislator on a plan to extort a day care operator who needed a letter of support for a state grant. The scheme was a ruse concocted by federal agents.
“It didn’t feel right to us,” Carter said. “It’s not like he went to a day care and shook them down. He went to an FBI day care…but that was not to be considered by us.”
Finally, after four hours of sometimes-heated deliberations, the jury was able to use the judge’s legal instructions to come to a unanimous verdict on each count of bribery and extortion, Carter said. […]
For a time, the jury’s foreman – not Carter — was strongly opposed to convicting Smith. But in the end, it was Smith who convicted himself with his own words, caught on undercover recordings talking about “cheddar” and “seven stacks” of cash and insisting on hiding any paper trail of the kickback, according to Carter.
“He never said, ‘Hey, listen Pete, I do these letters all the time and they are to help my constituents, not for my own personal gain,’” Carter said.
That’s exactly right. Smith deserved what he got, even if the feds went overboard on this thing.