JOLIET – A Homer Glen attorney testified in his own defense Wednesday while standing at the lectern in the center of the courtroom.
Robert Gold-Smith, 53, is representing himself on a charge of solicitation of murder. While locked up for harassing his ex-wife, Gold-Smith approached inmates at the Will County jail and offered money to have her killed, according to prosecutors.
Gold-Smith and Victoria Smith were going through a contentious divorce in 2010 when he allegedly punched her outside a courtroom.
"I'm very and deeply remorseful about that domestic incident," Gold-Smith told Judge Daniel Rozak, who is overseeing his bench trial. "I wanted to tell her so many times how sorry I was."
Gold-Smith's case on the domestic battery charge has been delayed until after the outcome of this case, but he has already served nearly twice as much time as the maximum 3-year-sentence. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of solicitation of murder. Gold-Smith also has witness tampering charges pending for allegedly having a former client contact the informant who wore a wire for detectives in the solicitation case.
Gold-Smith testified Wednesday the end of his marriage was painful and upsetting but he did not try to hire a hit man.
"I know that my son loves her very dearly and I'd never do anything to hurt [him by hurting] his mother," Gold-Smith said.
Gold-Smith said he wished his ex the best and has gone through therapy to move on.
"I have a lady friend I met several months ago. An inmate I've been corresponding with since her release," Gold-Smith said.
Gold-Smith remained at the lectern as Will County assistant state's attorney Adam Capelli stood about 10 feet away for cross-examination. Capelli asked Gold-Smith why he believed three other former jail inmates "got deals" for being willing to testify he'd offered the job to them.
"I know their histories. They told me their backgrounds while I [helped with] their cases," Gold-Smith said.
Gold-Smith has claimed Brian K. McDaniel, the informant who wore the wire, whispered into the recorder as if he were Gold-Smith. Gold-Smith told Capelli he'd been introduced to McDaniel in September 2012 by another inmate, Bradley Schlott. McDaniel reportedly made the recording during a conversation the following month. But Schlott, who is scheduled to be tried on an attempted murder charge later this month, said Gold-Smith sat in the TV area and did not have any private conversations with McDaniel the night the recording was made, according to trial testimony.
Closing arguments are expected Thursday.