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Donne Trotter, Illinois State Senator Facing Weapons Charge, Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor

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In this Dec. 15, 2012 photo, veteran Illinois state Sen. Donne Trotter speaks during a candidate presentation at the 2nd Congressional District slating meeting in South Holland, Ill. Trotter is one of three Illinois lawmakers facing criminal charges who are scheduled to be sworn in Jan. 9, 2013, in Springfield. Trotter faces gun charges for going through an O'Hare scanner with a handgun. (AP Photo/John Smierciak) | AP

CHICAGO — An Illinois state senator accused of trying to board a Washington, D.C.-bound flight with a gun pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Wednesday and was sentenced to community service.

A judge sentenced Donne Trotter to 60 hours of community service and a year of court supervision for the one count of reckless conduct. The Chicago Democrat also was ordered to pay $190 in fines and costs.

As part of the plea deal, Cook County prosecutors dropped the felony charge of seeking to board an aircraft with a weapon. A felony conviction could have cost the 63-year-old his Senate job and pension.

"He is very relieved," Trotter's attorney, Thomas Durkin, said in a phone interview later Wednesday. He called the resolution of the matter "both fair and appropriate."

Security screeners stopped Trotter at O'Hare International Airport Dec. 5 when they detected the .25-caliber gun. Trotter said he had worked a part-time security job and forgot the weapon was in a garment bag.

Judge Charles Burns told Trotter Wednesday his community service should be spent talking about gun safety, said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

Before the incident, Trotter was a front-runner in the race to replace ex-U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. after he resigned. But Trotter withdrew, saying he didn't want the gun charge to be a distraction.


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