COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — State Sen. Donne Trotter, once a prime candidate to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress, pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reckless conduct charge of trying to bring a gun on a flight at O'Hare Airport.
Trotter (D-Chicago) initially was charged with attempting to board an aircraft with a firearm, a felony, but the charges were downgraded to a misdemeanor in exchange for a guilty plea.
Trotter's reckless conduct was defined as endangering the safety of a federal Transportation Security Administration employee by having a gun in his bag last December.
Trotter was given a sentence of one year of supervision and instructed by Cook County Judge Charles Burns to talk about gun safety when making public appearances.
Trotter did not address the court during the brief hearing nor later speak with reporters.
Trotter's attorney, Thomas Durkin, called the sentence "fair and appropriate under the circumstances."
"We are very happy this is behind us," Durkin said.
Durkin has maintained that Trotter had no knowledge the gun was in his bag when he checked in for a flight to Washington, D.C., where he planned to meet with the Congressional Black Caucus.
"Nobody knowingly goes to the most important meeting of his life knowing he has a gun in his carry-on," Durkin said last month.
Trotter has a permit to carry a handgun while working as a security guard for Allpoints Security and Detective Inc. and traveling to and from his job. Trotter had a valid firearm owner's identification card that listed his address as his Senate office at the state Capitol Building rather than his South Shore home, sources said.
Trotter dropped out of the race to replace Jackson after Jackson gave up his 2nd Congressional District seat last fall. Jackson pleaded guilty to improperly spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds.