Criminal Justice

Man is acquitted of shooting assault on federal judge, but convicted on lesser counts

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A Michigan jury has acquitted a 23-year-old man on charges that he robbed and assaulted with intent to murder a federal judge. The judge was shot outside his Detroit home last year, in what appears to have been a random robbery.

However, Kevin Andre Smith Jr., 23, was convicted Tuesday of two firearms charges and conspiracy to commit armed robbery in the Wayne County Circuit Court case, reports the Detroit News.

The jury also acquitted Smith of an armed robbery charge.

Attorney John McWilliams defended Smith and said he believes the inability of U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg and his wife to identify his client as the shooter during their testimony contributed to the acquittals.

A co-defendant did identify Smith as the shooter, but McWillliams said he did so to get a better plea deal in his own case, the newspaper reports.

“I didn’t shoot the judge,” Smith himself said when he testified last week. “If I shot a judge, sir, I would have taken a plea agreement.”

Smith rejected a plea deal that would have included a 30- to 40-year prison term, as an earlier Detroit News story details.

It is not clear at this point what Smith’s sentence will be.

The Detroit Free Press also has a story.

Related coverage: “Federal judge testifies about being shot on his front porch”

Detroit News: “Jury asks judge for info in federal judge shooting case”

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