March trial set for Illinois senator on gun charge


Share
Originally Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2013, 10:29 am
Last Updated: Jan. 17, 2013, 2:52 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge in Chicago has scheduled a March 12 trial date for an Illinois state senator accused of trying to board a flight with a gun and ammunition, but a police officer's testimony about having trouble finding the small gun in a garment bag may help establish the politician had forgotten the gun was there.

During a hearing Thursday, Judge Ann O'Donnell found probable cause to continue the case against Donne Trotter. He faces a felony gun charge after being stopped by security last year at O'Hare International Airport.

Trotter's attorney, Thomas Durkin, said after the hearing that he'd hoped the judge would dismiss the case but said he believes prosecutors won't be able to prove that Trotter knew the gun was in the bag when he headed to the airport.

"We're very confident going forward. We'll just take it to the next step," Durkin said.

Trotter didn't speak to reporters.

Trotter, 62, had been considered a front-runner to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress, but he withdrew from the 2nd Congressional District race last month, saying he didn't want the gun charge to detract from the district's important issues.

Trotter was arrested Dec. 5 when security screeners at O'Hare International Airport found an unloaded .25-caliber Beretta handgun in his bag. Trotter had planned to board a flight for Washington.

The Chicago Democrat told airport security he uses the handgun for his job with a security company and had forgotten it was in his bag, according to a police report.

Chicago Police Officer Vince Bielicki testified Thursday that airport security called him after an outline of a gun was seen in a screened bag. Bielicki told the judge he initially couldn't locate the weapon in the bag but eventually found it in an outer zipped pocket. Bielicki said Trotter cooperated with authorities at the airport.

After the hearing, Durkin told reporters the officer's testimony helps his client.

"The most telling fact was the police officer said when he went to look for it he couldn't even find it," Durkin said. "He didn't even find it the first time he looked for it."
















 



Local events heading








  Today is Tuesday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2014. There are 71 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The weather is discouraging for our great Democratic rally tomorrow, but never mind that. Let our Rock Island people show they can make a big procession themselves, rain or shine.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Apparatus arrived for drilling an artesian well on the premises of George Warner's Atlantic Brewery.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The German army continued its attacks on the allies line near the Belgian coast.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Zachert northwest of Buffalo Prairie, burned to the ground.
1964 -- 50 years ago: WVIK-FM, noncommercial educational radio station at Augustana College, will return to the air tomorrow. The station operates at a power of 10 watts at 90.9 megacycles on the frequency modulation band. The station is operated with a staff of 92 students.
1989 -- 25 years ago: An avenue of lights, 13 Christmas trees strung with more than 44,000 sparkling lights, will expand the Festival of Trees beyond the walls of RiverCenter in downtown Davenport in mid-November.


(More History)