JOLIET – A Homer Glen lawyer on trial for allegedly attempting to hire out his estranged wife’s murder from the Will County jail positioned the recording made by an informant wearing a wire as the focus of his closing argument Thursday.
Robert W. Gold-Smith, 53, said “snitch” Brian K. McDaniel impersonated Gold-Smith and whispered, “Kill the bitch,” in order to get a deal in his own case.
“He’ll get $5,000 from my attorney [for the hit] on the tape. No attorney will pay for something like that,” Gold-Smith told Judge Daniel Rozak in a lengthy closing argument.
Gold-Smith, who is representing himself, has not seen much of an audience throughout his bench trial, but the largest felony courtroom was nearly filled by lawyers and Will County sheriff’s police when he began Thursday morning.
Gold-Smith and his former wife, Victoria Smith, were going through a contentious divorce in 2010 when he allegedly punched her outside a courtroom. Gold-Smith was put in jail in March 2011 for allegedly violating an order of protection and approached a handful of inmates to pay for her death, Will County Assistant State’s Attorney Peter Wilkes said. Gold-Smith’s recorded conversation with McDaniel took place in October 2012, he said.
“On a certain level, it’s sad to see the downward spiral of an individual,” Wilkes told Rozak. “It seems, at some point, Mr. Gold-Smith had a thriving law practice, [but now] the defendant’s sole purpose and the bane of his existence is to kill Victoria Smith.”
Wilkes acknowledged McDaniel’s extensive criminal history, but noted he’s already received all the incentives he was promised by prosecutors for his own case.
“McDaniel ... has no reason to lie,” Wilkes said.
But Gold-Smith said McDaniel’s “Frankenstein – his creation [will] ruin a man’s life to shave a year or two off his sentence” and has made Gold-Smith the victim of a coverup by investigators and prosecutors who relied on the word of a snitch.
Gold-Smith noted several of his family members and civil attorneys did not recognize “his” voice on the tape, although Victoria Smith testified last week she believes it is her ex-husband whispering.
“The tape. That’s what this case is about. If it’s real, I’m guilty. If it’s not, I’m not,” Gold-Smith said.
Rozak will issue his decision next month after reviewing transcripts and reports both sides agreed to use as evidence before the trial began.