Former Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith is no stranger to a courtroom, but Friday he was just another defendant.
Normally, Smith would have walked into federal court to be arraigned in connection to an alleged embezzlement scheme, but he appeared before a judge via Zoom and signed a plea agreement admitting to obstruction of justice.
United States Attorney Matthew Schneider said the FBI had been investigating Smith for more than a year.
“Our state has seen a number of public officials who have sworn to uphold their oaths and then they violated that,” Schneider said. “Our job here is to not only prosecute people and bring justice to the citizens of Macomb County and the state of Michigan, but it’s also let people know we’re watching this and we don’t want this to happen anymore.”
Smith signed a plea deal admitting he tried to persuade a witness and influence their testimony. Smith also tried to get his assistant prosecutors to lie and suggested they create a fake consulting contract to justify stolen campaign funds when Smith was spending tens of thousands of dollars he’d raised politically on himself.
“Even when people violate their oaths, people should feel confident that the federal government or the state government is going to step in and put their foot down and bring people to justice,” Schneider said.
While Smith pleaded guilty in federal court, he’s still facing a slew of charges from Attorney General Dana Nessel that include embezzlement and running a criminal enterprise.
Smith was given a $10,000 unsecured bond, he can’t leave the state without approval and has to surrender his CPL. He faces up to 21 months in custody and a $250,000 dollar fine.
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