WBEZ | Donne Trotter http://www.wbez.org/tags/donne-trotter Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois State Senator gets gun felony charge dropped, pleads guilty to lesser crime http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-state-senator-gets-gun-felony-charge-dropped-pleads-guilty-lesser-crime-106819 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS6728_AP110513027356.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The attorney for Donne Trotter said Wednesday felony gun charges have been dropped against the Illinois state senator, who was once a contender for the Congressional seat vacated by Jesse Jackson, Jr.</p><p dir="ltr">Trotter withdrew his name from contention for that congressional seat after being charged with having an unloaded gun in his bag as he tried to go through security at O&rsquo;Hare International Airport.</p><p dir="ltr">Trotter&rsquo;s attorney, Tom Durkin, said the felony charges related to the gun were dropped in exchange for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of reckless conduct.</p><p dir="ltr">The Illinois state Constitution says that anyone found guilty of a felony cannot hold public office on the state level. Durkin said Trotter will be allowed to keep his post since the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor.</p><p dir="ltr">Durkin said the plea deal calls for Trotter to have a year of non-reporting supervision. Once a year is up, Trotter could have the charge expunged from his record, pending good behavior.</p><p dir="ltr">Durkin said Trotter will also have to conduct 60 hours of community service. Trotter&rsquo;s attorney said the state senator will likely spend a lot of that time talking to youth groups about gun safety.</p><p dir="ltr">Durkin said Trotter will not be able to possess a gun during his 12 months of supervision. Durkin would not comment on how that might affect Trotter&rsquo;s part-time job as a security officer. The 63-year-old state senator initially told Transportation Security Administration agents in December that he carried the gun for his security work. He said he forgot he had put the gun in his bag before trying to take it through airport security.</p><p dir="ltr">Trotter has represented parts of the South Side of Chicago in Springfield for decades. He has been a state senator since 1993. Trotter dropped out of the race for U.S. Representative to Illinois&rsquo; 2nd Congressional District after his December arrest.</p><p dir="ltr">The special election for the congressional seat formerly held by Jesse Jackson, Jr. was won by Robin Kelly.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Alex Keefe contributed to this report.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 12:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-state-senator-gets-gun-felony-charge-dropped-pleads-guilty-lesser-crime-106819 March 12 trial scheduled for Trotter on gun charge http://www.wbez.org/march-12-trial-scheduled-trotter-gun-charge-104988 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/TROTTER Donne crop_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Cook County judge has ruled there is enough evidence against an Illinois state senator to take his case to the next level. State Sen. Donne Trotter is accused of trying to take a gun through O&rsquo;Hare Airport security.</p><p>The Chicago Democrat had been seeking his party&#39;s nomination to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress, but dropped out of the race after these charges were brought.</p><p>Trotter&rsquo;s attorney, Tom Durkin, said Trotter didn&rsquo;t mean to try to take the gun through security.</p><p>&quot;We don&#39;t penalize people for doing things unknowingly except in rare crimes like polluting a river or something,&quot; Durkin said.</p><p>Durkin says the gun was very small and could fit in the palm of a hand. During the court proceeding, Durkin questioned Chicago police officer Vince Bielicki about how hard it was to find the gun in the bag.</p><p>&quot;It was in an outside bag. He clearly didn&rsquo;t know it was there,&quot; Durkin told reporters after the hearing. &quot;You wouldn&rsquo;t know it was there by packing it and you heard the officer say that he still - the word &lsquo;still&rsquo; was used - that he didn&rsquo;t know it was still in there.&quot;</p><p>Bielicki testified that Trotter cooperated with airport security.</p><p>Trotter did not speak during the court proceeding and he would not comment to reporters.</p><p>Illinois&rsquo; state constitution prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from holding public office.</p></p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 10:41:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/march-12-trial-scheduled-trotter-gun-charge-104988 Illinois lawmaker facing gun charge still campaigning http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmaker-facing-gun-charge-still-campaigning-104338 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP949227173631_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A veteran Illinois state senator <a href="http://www.wbez.org/illinois-lawmaker-released-bail-weapons-charge-104236">charged</a> with trying to board a flight with a gun and ammunition in his carry-on bag says he&#39;s the right person to fill <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-jesse-jackson-jr-resigns-congress-103969">Jesse Jackson Jr.</a>&#39;s seat in Congress.</p><p>But his attorney acknowledged there is a &quot;cloud hanging over his head.&quot;</p><p>State Sen. Donne Trotter, who maintains he forgot the gun was in the bag, appeared in a Cook County court Wednesday in hopes a judge would dismiss the case. Instead, prosecutors, who will have to show he knowingly tried to pass security with the gun in his bag, were given until Jan. 17 for more preparations.</p><p>The delay could jeopardize Trotter&#39;s chances of getting the Cook County Democratic Party&#39;s backing Saturday when it endorses one of the more than dozen Democrats vying for the U.S. House seat.</p><p>&quot;You&#39;d have to be deaf and dumb to think it wouldn&#39;t affect his candidacy,&quot; his lawyer, Thomas Durkin, told reporters outside the courthouse. &quot;It&#39;s a cloud hanging over his head.&quot;</p><p>Trotter, 62, was arrested Dec. 5 when Transportation Security Administration officers discovered an unloaded .25-caliber Beretta handgun and ammunition in an outside zippered pocket of his garment bag during routine X-ray screening at O&#39;Hare International Airport, where he planned to board a flight to Washington.</p><p>According to a police report, Trotter told TSA officers he has the weapon for work as a security officer at a Chicago security and detective firm and that he did not realize it was in the bag when he packed for his flight. He is licensed to carry a weapon and has a Firearm Owner&#39;s Identification card, police say.</p><p>Trotter, who is part the Senate&#39;s Democratic leadership, was charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries a penalty of one to three years in prison for those found guilty. His lawyer called it &quot;an incredibly minor case.&quot;</p><p>&quot;He did not remember that he had the gun there, which happens thousands of times, I&#39;m told, at O&#39;Hare airport,&quot; Durkin said. &quot;I&#39;m also told that a lot of these cases are resolved without charging.&quot;</p><p>Speaking to reporters, Durkin and Trotter refused to discuss specifics of the case or the nature of the senator&#39;s security work.</p><p>The Chicago Democrat said he believes his 24 years in state politics makes him qualified to hold the seat left vacant by Jackson&#39;s resignation and to represent southeast Chicago and nearby suburbs. He called the district &quot;one of the most neglected communities, not only in the state, but in this country&quot; and cited his work as a state lawmaker in addressing health care, creating jobs and dealing with budgets and deficits.</p><p>On Saturday, he&#39;ll have to make that case before Cook County Democratic officials and answer their questions. Durkin, who might attend the endorsement session with him, said he hasn&#39;t decided yet how they&#39;ll deal with any questions about the legal case.</p><p>Trotter said the committee&#39;s backing is crucial.</p><p>&quot;This is a game of addition, not subtraction,&quot; he said. &quot;... So, certainly I would like to have the support of the Democratic slating committee.&quot;</p></p> Wed, 12 Dec 2012 10:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmaker-facing-gun-charge-still-campaigning-104338 U.S. Senator Dick Durbin doesn’t think Trotter should be let off the hook http://www.wbez.org/news/us-senator-dick-durbin-doesn%E2%80%99t-think-trotter-should-be-let-hook-104267 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/durbin.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said he doesn&rsquo;t think Illinois lawmaker Donne Trotter should get off easy for trying to bring a gun onto an airplane.</p><p>Trotter is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/2nd-special-election">currently campaigning</a> for the congressional seat once held by Jesse Jackson Jr.</p><p>He&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/illinois-lawmaker-released-bail-weapons-charge-104236">facing felony charges</a> after security at O&rsquo;Hare Airport found an unloaded gun and ammunition in his carry-on bag on Wednesday.</p><p>Durbin said he doesn&rsquo;t know how Trotter&#39;s case will turn out.</p><p>&ldquo;But we can&rsquo;t make exceptions because someone&rsquo;s an elected official,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;This applies to everybody across the board. Don&rsquo;t tempt us, don&rsquo;t try to test the system because we&rsquo;re serious about safety on our airplanes.&rdquo;</p><p>Senator Durbin&rsquo;s comments were made during an appearance at a Christmas luncheon for the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago on Friday.</p><p>He also addressed the<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/activists-occupy-shantytown-federal-plaza-104241"> looming fiscal cliff</a>.</p><p>Durbin said he&rsquo;s confident Washington will come ot a solution in the next few days.</p><p>The senior lawmaker said Senate Democrats stand solidly behind the President.</p><p>&ldquo;The real difference is with Speaker Boehner and whether the House of Representatives will agree with the President for a bipartisan approach,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It has to be bipartisan in the Senate, if it&rsquo;s bipartisan in the House, we can get it done.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 07 Dec 2012 15:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/us-senator-dick-durbin-doesn%E2%80%99t-think-trotter-should-be-let-hook-104267 Lawmakers get a peek at new districts http://www.wbez.org/story/lawmakers-get-peek-new-districts-86531 <p><p>Springfield lawmakers spent most of their time this week debating the state budget. But there is another issue weighing on their minds: Redistricting.</p><p>One by one, Democratic lawmakers are being pulled into a private map room in Springfield. There, they view on a computer screen the proposed boundaries of their new legislative districts.</p><p>It's a worrisome topic. Take state Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago). Trotter represents parts of Chicago's Southeast Side and a few suburbs. Due to population losses, his district going forward is likely to stretch into Will County. Knowing that, Trotter has paid closer attention to complaints from mayors statewide.</p><p>The state is threatening to reduce the amount of money it gives local governments. Currently, Trotter only has to be responsive to a few mayors. He knows next year, he may be answering to many more. And they will be watching closely how he votes on the funding issue.</p></p> Sat, 14 May 2011 22:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/lawmakers-get-peek-new-districts-86531