Original Case Details
Former Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith’s fall from grace continues. Smith resigned from his post as Macomb County Prosecutor six months ago amid 10 state felony corruption charges. He is the highest-ranking Macomb County official to have been involved in the criminal crackdown on corruption that has been the story of the county this past year. 22 different people have been convicted since 2016 for their varying roles in local corruption. On the state level, Smith is charged with conducting a criminal enterprise, five separate counts of embezzlement by a public official, tampering with evidence, conspiracy to commit forgery, accessory to a crime after the fact, and public office misconduct. Smith’s home was also raided by federal investigators in connection with Smith’s suspected illegal use of campaign funds. He is alleged to have tried two subordinate assistant prosecutors and a friend to lie to a federal grand jury and investigators from the FBI about fraud schemes he allegedly used to illegally take $75,000 from his political election fund and convert it for his own personal use. This allegation has led to a federal criminal charge, which Smith has agreed to pled guilty to.
Former Macomb Prosecutor Pleads to Federal Charge
Smith was charged with a single federal charge of obstruction of justice. He has agreed to plead guilty to the charge which carries a maximum possible penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison. This charge is being handled separately from his state criminal charges as he continues to face those charges without a resolution just yet. His estimated federal sentencing guideline range is between 15 and 21 months which is yet to be officially determined in court. This sentencing guidelines are determined by a variety of factors about the offense itself, as well Smith’s criminal history and other variables. Once all these factors are assessed, then a range of months for minimum sentence is determined. A federal judge will then take the sentencing guideline range into account when determining sentence. If the judge decides to sentence outside of the range (either higher or lower), then the judge will have to state reasons why he or she departed from the regular sentencing guideline range. It is less common for this to happen but is totally possible given the nature and surrounding factors of Smith’s case. Given Smith’s stature and the nature of the position of trust that an elected county prosecutor volunteers to have, a federal judge may want to make an example out of Smith when deciding sentence. Many state and federal judges are former prosecutors and that fact could prove harmful for Smith as he will likely be sentenced by someone who was previously in a role similar to Smith.
What’s Next for Smith?
Former Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith will now be sent for a pre-sentence interview with a federal probation agent who will generate a report based on his or her interview with Smith. The pre-sentence report will then be submitted to the judge by the probation agent, along with a recommendation for sentence. The judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney will all have ample time to review this pre-sentence report to look for any inaccuracies or any legal issues that need to be brought before the sentencing judge. Smith’s attorney and federal prosecutors will both have the opportunity to be heard at sentencing to argue for what they feel is the appropriate sentence given the factors and conduct involved in Smith’s case. If there are issues regarding the scoring of specific sentencing guideline issues, then Smith and his attorney can discuss these issues at sentencing. He continues to be charged at the state level and those charges have yet to be resolved. He is likely facing more significant penalties at the state level with the sheer number of charges and criminal accusations involved. Smith is also facing a whistle blower lawsuit from his former chief of staff who accuses Smith of removing him from his role and retaliating against him for providing information against Smith and other co-defendants that are being investigated along with Smith. The lawsuit seeks both compensatory and punitive damages, alleging a pattern of retaliatory behavior by Smith.
Any Further Questions?
If you or a loved one is facing the possibility of federal criminal charges, then it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases within the federal courts of the state of Michigan. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.