By Jason Meisner
6:31 PM CDT, April 24, 2013
State Sen. Donne Trotter pleaded guilty today to misdemeanor reckless conduct for trying to board a flight with a handgun in his carry-on luggage in December.
In a plea deal worked out with Cook County prosecutors, Judge Charles Burns sentenced Trotter, 63, to a year of court supervision and 60 hours of community service. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped the original felony charge of bringing a gun onto an airplane. A felony conviction could have resulted in up to three years in prison.
Trotter was arrested after Transportation Security Administration officials at O’Hare International Airport spotted a .25-caliber Beretta zipped inside a side pocket of his carry-on bag. He told police he got off work as a security guard and forgot that he had a gun and a magazine with six live rounds in the bag.
His arrest sparked wide news media interest because at the time he was considered a front-runner to succeed outgoing U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. A few weeks after his arrest, Trotter dropped his bid to fill Jackson’s seat.
Trotter worked for Allpoints Security and Detective Inc., a company that provides private security for commercial and residential buildings as well as individuals. No one at the company's Southeast Side offices returned calls seeking comment Wednesday.
Prosecutors said the South Side lawmaker had a valid firearm owner's identification card and was licensed by the state to carry the gun while traveling to and from the security job. The weapon was not registered in the city of Chicago as required by law.
Trotter's lawyer, Thomas Anthony Durkin, said after today’s hearing that Trotter had agreed to talk about gun safety while he is on court supervision.
“I believe that the disposition was fair and appropriate under the circumstances,” Durkin said.
Trotter did not make a statement during the hearing and left the Leighton Criminal Court Building without comment.
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