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Testimony begins in Smith trial

4 years ago October 21, 2011 Oct 21, 2011 Friday, October 21 2011 Friday, October 21, 2011 5:22:32 PM CDT in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Stephanie Ryan

BATON ROUGE-- Official police badges, official police commissions, and classified information were among the things prosecutors told the jury Port Allen Police Chief Fred Smith gave out in exchange for cash, hotel stays, and sports tickets.

Jurors watched video of Smith counting $800 in an undercover FBI agent's car.  Prosecutors say it was in the car of an undercover FBI agent posing as a corrupt businessman, a businessman who wanted traffic tickets fixed and classified information.  Prosecutors told the jurythebusinessperson got what he wanted.

Defense attorney J. David Bourland told the jury Smith was entrapped and even said no to bribes for months before accepting anything.

"I can't say things didn't happen.  I ask you to think about how it happened, why it happened, who was victimized, who was defrauded.  Fred Smith was ensnared," Bourland said.

Prosecutor Cory Amundson held the multiple Port Allen badges in the air to show jurors, asking Port Allen Police Detective Jeremy Thompson what the chances are of someone getting a badge without applying to the department, or passing a drug test, someone who allegedly wanted to buy weapons from the Police Department's evidence room and who was looking for a weapon that will leave no trace.

"Zero," Thompson told the jury.

Bourland told jurors the badges were collector's items, given as gifts, not as bribes.

Still, prosecutor Mike Jefferson listed 14 separate times he said Smith solicited bribes, along with countless other times Smith allegedly took bribes.  Jefferson said many of those instances are recorded on audio and video tapes.

"Much of the evidence in this trial will be coming from Fred Smith, in his own words, in his own voice," Jefferson told the jury.

Former Port Allen Mayor Derek Lewis is slated to testify against Smith next week.  Lewis was indicted with Smith for racketeering and fraud, but took a plea deal in June.

Smith's trial continues Monday.

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