JOLIET – The Homer Glen attorney representing himself against charges he tried hiring someone to kill his former wife testified Wednesday for himself for the second time.
Robert W. Gold-Smith, 53, remained at the podium before Judge Daniel Rozak instead of sitting at the witness stand for the third part of a hearing to dismiss his indictment for solicitation of murder. Gold-Smith’s hands were uncuffed so he could look through his notes, but he wore leg shackles over his blue jail jumpsuit.
Gold-Smith claims the grand jury indicted him because a former jail inmate, Brian K. McDaniel, testified he recorded Gold-Smith whispering to him about the hit. Gold-Smith said he “recognized McDaniel was a snitch” who whispered into the wire himself for leniency in his own case.
In November 2010, Gold-Smith’s then-wife sought an order of protection after he grabbed her by the hair and punched her in the face as they walked out of a courtroom, police said. The lawyer has been in jail since March 2011 after allegedly violating that order of protection and approaching inmates to have her killed, authorities said.
“There are two or three other individuals we believe would testify they were approached by Gold-Smith for a similar scheme,” Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Adam Capelli said when the judge asked what else besides McDaniel’s testimony and the recording support the indictment.
“Between my friendliness, the [notoriety] of my domestic case and the fact that I’m a real jailhouse lawyer ... I’ve been a target for snitches in general. By the time McDaniel came along, I was a veteran – I could recognize a snitch a mile away,” Gold-Smith said.
McDaniel is serving time for 2013 theft and shoplifting convictions in the Illinois River Correctional Center, but the judge said the informant’s character is not a pretrial issue.
“I understand [McDaniel] has a substantial criminal record, and if you cut it in half ... and cut it in half [again], I’d still say it’s substantial,” Rozak told Gold-Smith. “It might have a lot of relevance if this case ever goes to trial [to question] his truthfulness and veracity.”
But Rozak also said Gold-Smith’s pretrial motions have required him to listen to the recording many times, and he has noticed something McDaniel says during the conversation.
“[McDaniel says] ‘Let me just see if I can get the address. Write it down for me again.’ Which would imply he wrote it down once,” Rozak said, noting the word “again” is distinct. “It seems there should be a piece of paper with his handwriting, fingerprints or DNA.”
Capelli said prosecutors do not have any written notes from McDaniel.
“We have Mr. McDaniel saying it’s him. We have Mr. Gold-Smith saying it isn’t. That’s the extent of the evidence,” Rozak said.
Gold-Smith and Capelli will offer closing arguments on the motion next week.