Illinois State Senator gets gun felony charge dropped, pleads guilty to lesser crime
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.
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’Hare International Airport.
Trotter’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.
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.
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.
Durkin said Trotter will also have to conduct 60 hours of community service. Trotter’s attorney said the state senator will likely spend a lot of that time talking to youth groups about gun safety.
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’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.
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’ 2nd Congressional District after his December arrest.
The special election for the congressional seat formerly held by Jesse Jackson, Jr. was won by Robin Kelly.
WBEZ’s Alex Keefe contributed to this report.
Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold.