Defense attorneys in the illegal lobbying trial of C. Greg Turner have withdrawn allegations that state Sen. Donne Trotter accepted a $2,000 cash bribe as part of an FBI sting.
Turner’s attorneys Michael Leonard and James Tunick last week had alleged that Trotter accepted the cash from Turner’s co-defendant, Prince Asiel Ben Israel, then failed to declare it as either a political contribution or as income on his taxes.
But on Wednesday Tunick told U.S. District Judge Elaine Bucklo that he would not quiz Trotter about that allegation when Trotter takes the stand as a witness against Turner. Speaking outside court, Leonard later said that he and Tunick “no longer have a good faith basis” to do so.
Trotter declined to comment on the advice of his lawyer. He was due to testify Wednesday, but the trial was stopped early after a juror suffered a family bereavement. Trotter could now testify Thursday.
Turner is accused of illegally lobbying Chicago politicians on behalf of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in a failed attempt to lift U.S. sanctions against Mugabe and his ruling elite. Prosecutors allege he broke the law by failing to declare that he was Mugabe’s agent.
Former U.S. Sen. Roland Burris — who Turner’s lawyers have accused of shaking down a business owner — is due to testify for the prosecution next week.