Illinois lawmaker released on weapons charge


Share
Originally Posted Online: Dec. 05, 2012, 3:15 pm
Last Updated: Dec. 07, 2012, 9:38 am
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
Related stories

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois state senator charged with trying to board a flight with a gun and ammunition in a carry-on bag posted bond and left court Thursday without a word about the charges or whether it would affect his decision to run for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s vacant congressional seat.

The 62-year-old Trotter — wearing the same clothes he had on when he was arrested the morning before at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport — stopped to address reporters after his release, but apparently changed his mind when he was asked about the case.

"Not now, not today," said Trotter, a couple of hours after he had appeared in court and a judge set his bond at $25,000.

Regardless of whether Trotter is saying so, observers say it's clear that his congressional campaign — if he does continue to run — will look a lot different than it did before Wednesday morning.

"This will handicap him because everywhere he goes he will be asked why he was carrying a loaded gun onto an airline," said Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman and a political scientist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Until Trotter's arrest, he was one of the stronger candidates in a growing field, Simpson said.

Trotter has 24 years of public service, both as a state representative and a state senator, that he could tout during a campaign. That service was something his attorney pointed to in asking the judge to impose a "reasonable" bond. Now, though, said Simpson, voters will be asked to answer a much more basic question.

"Do you really want a congressman who's not bright enough to not take a gun on an airplane?" he said.

Trotter is charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries a sentence to one to three years in prison upon conviction. In Illinois, defendants must post 10 percent of the set bond, so Trotter had to put up $2,500, to be released. He's scheduled to return to court for a hearing Dec. 12.

During Thursday's hearing where a Cook County judge set his bond, Assistant State's Attorney Lorraine Scaduto outlined the events that led to Trotter's arrest.

Trotter, she told the judge, was at the airport Wednesday morning for an 8:07 a.m. flight to Washington, D.C. During a routine X-ray of his carry-on bag, Transportation Security Administration officers spotted the unloaded gun and clip of bullets. Trotter was then taken into custody.

Scaduto said that Trotter explained to officers he uses the .25-caliber Beretta handgun for his job with a security company. She said he told them that he'd worked until midnight the night before and that he'd forgotten the gun and ammunition in his garment bag when he packed at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

"He said he did not realize it was still in his bag," Scaduto said.

Related Stories














 



Local events heading








  Today is Monday, July 28, the 209th day of 2014. There are 156 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Port Byron passengers and mails will be transported by the Sterling and Rock Island railroad.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The congregation of the First Methodist church worshiped in Harper's theater, where construction work is being done at the church site.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Three-eye baseball for Moline was assured the Danville Franchise will be transferred to the Plow city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Roseville Methodist Church is observing its 100th anniversary.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The last remaining unfinished portion of Interstate 80 between the Quad-Cities and Joliet will be opened to traffic by Aug 12.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Of all the highlights of the last 12 years, this is the greatest of all, said Dennis Hitchcock, producer director of Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, as he torched the mortgage, clearing a $220,000 loan financing the downtown Rock Island theater's beginnings in 1977.




(More History)