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Ex-prosecutor in suburban Detroit gets 21 months in prison

February 16, 2022 GMT
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith leaves the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, in Detroit, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 after he was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for obstruction of justice in a lengthy fraud scheme. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith leaves the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, in Detroit, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 after he was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for obstruction of justice in a lengthy fraud scheme. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith leaves the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, in Detroit, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 after he was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for obstruction of justice in a lengthy fraud scheme. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith leaves the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, in Detroit, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 after he was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for obstruction of justice in a lengthy fraud scheme. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)
Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith leaves the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse, in Detroit, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022 after he was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for obstruction of justice in a lengthy fraud scheme. (David Guralnick/Detroit News via AP)

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — A former Detroit-area prosecutor was sentenced Wednesday to 21 months in prison for obstructing justice during an investigation of how he spent campaign donations.

Eric Smith’s punishment matched the recommendation of federal prosecutors.

“Mr. Smith’s deeds in these cases are egregious,” U.S. District Judge Linda Parker said.

Smith, a Democrat, was Macomb County’s elected prosecutor until quitting in disgrace in 2020 after 15 years, tarnished by state and federal investigations.

“Motivated by greed, he used his position to line his pockets with money that did not belong to him, and worse yet, to force others to lie to law enforcement for him,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Moran said in a court filing.

Between 2012 and 2020, Smith conducted two fraud schemes to steal approximately $75,000 in cash from his political campaign for personal expenses, federal investigators said.

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He admitted that he attempted to get three people, including two assistant prosecutors, to make false statements about his use of campaign cash. Smith pleaded guilty a year ago.

Defense attorney John Dakmak asked for home confinement, citing Smith’s health, but was rebuffed.

“I did the worst thing I could do and covered it up,” Smith told the judge. “I asked friends to help me. I involved them in my mess. Of all the things I did wrong, that’s what I feel worst about.”

Separately, Smith is charged in state court with embezzlement and other crimes related to a different scheme to use money from drunken driving cases, bad check cases and assets forfeited in drug crimes. He was recently ordered to trial.