With just a little more than three weeks before his sentencing on federal election conspiracy charges, former Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis, is not liking the direction things are going.
In a sealed document filed today in U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Smith objected to the presentence investigation report. That would indicate the government is planning to recommend more prison time than Smith is wanting to serve.
Smith resigned from the Senate Aug. 25, the same day he pleaded guilty to the charges which involve running a smear campaign against Russ Carnahan, his opponent in the 2004 Congressional primary.
In a self-serving statement issued to his supporters that day, Smith softpedaled his actions, while concentrating heavily on his accomplishments in office.
Details revealed in court documents showed that Smith not only went along with a coverup of the activities of his operative, Milton Ohlsen during the primary campaign, but he also was willing to throw the blame on one of his former campaign aides who had died earlier. From the Aug. 25 Turner Report:
Not knowing that his conversation was being overheard by the feds, Sen. Jeff Smith, who resigned his seat and pleaded guilty to two felony counts of obstruction of justice, tried to talk his co-conspirator, Rep. Steve Brown, into blaming everything on the late Artie Harris.
During a June 30 meeting at Starbuck's Cafe in Clayton, Smith told Brown, "Can you put it on Arnie?" Smith asked. "If you can just put it on Arnie." Arnie Harris, a key member of Jeff Smith's 2004 Congressional campaign, died shortly after being interviewed by the FEC about accusations, since proven to be factual, that Smith's campaign worked with Milton "Skip" Ohlsen on the direct mailing of attack literature against the eventual winner of the Democratic primary, Russ Carnahan.
Smith continued to take that cowardly approach during another meeting with Brown and 2004 campaign treasurer and co-conspirator Nick Adams June 30 at Smith's home, again with the FBI listening in.
Smith and Adams tag-teamed Brown to get him to lay the entire blame on Harris. Adams said, "I'm alive and Artie's dead. Can was emphasize this was Artie's deal?"
Smith added, "Artie would totally want us to throw him under the bus here."
Smith's cover-up was detailed in other conversations that were monitored by the government, as noted in another Aug. 25 Turner Report post:
Smith, not realizing his conversation was being monitored by an FBI wiretap June 1 confirmed his connection to an unsuccessful backdoor attempt to derail Russ Carnahan's successful primary bid for the House seat being vacated by Richard Gephardt.
"Did I know (Milton Ohlsen) was going to do something/" Smith told his co-conspirator, Rep. Steve Brown during the telephone conversation. "Yeah, I mean I thought he was going to do something. If I didn't think he was going to do something, hen I would have said to Artie (Harris) and Nick (Adams) don't waste your time talking to that guy."
During that conversation, which was included in documents filed today in U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Smith acknowledged he knew Brown had paid Ohlsen money for the illegal mailing:
"I vividly remember somebody being like well (Ohlsen) wants to do this, and I was like, well, f------ let him do it, sweet. And they're like, well, he's going to need the money to do it, he'll need to get it from your donors, and I said, like hopefully, my donors will give it to him."
The court documents indicate another conversation between Smith and Brown, this one face to face was also monitored. During that conversation, Smith talked about what evidence the FBI had against him "I don't think he (Ohlsen) taped any phone conversations with me. I mean, I pray he didn't. I may have had a phone conversation with him where I acknowledged what he was doing."
Smith then admitted he was fully aware of what Ohlsen was doing. "I'm assuming that I broke the law by having knowledge of what (Ohlsen) was going to do. I don't know how they could prova that."
Smith then told Brown to lie to investigators. "Don't do anything stupid," he said. "Stupid would be telling them that things that are happening in your brain."
Smith said when he was interviewed he would be "Ninety percent honest."
Smith's sentencing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Nov. 17 in federal court in St. Louis.