WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS) – State Sen. Suzi Schmidt (R-Lake Villa) has been acquitted of trespassing and property damage charges stemming from a dispute with a neighbor this summer.
Wednesday afternoon, a Lake County judge found Schmidt not guilty of one count of criminal trespass and one count of criminal damage to property – both misdemeanors.
“I’m glad this is done. It’s a relief, of course. I don’t think this kind of a case would have ever gotten here if I wasn’t a state senator,” Schmidt told CBS 2′s Mike Puccinelli as she left court. “It’s always sad when you go through these things, but it’s over with, and I’m happy it’s done.”
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The charges were the result of a dispute with a neighbor. Schmidt was accused of grabbing a bag of animal feed on neighbor Kurt Kunde’s property, around the corner from her house, and ripping it apart during an angry tirade.
In a 911 call during the incident, Kunde told police there had been an ongoing dispute with Schmidt for six to eight months at the time.
An arrest warrant was issued for Schmidt a week after the confrontation, and she was arrested on June 12. She was released from custody after posting 10 percent of her $5,000 bond.
The Kundes also obtained an order of protection against Smith after her arrest, requiring her to stay at least 500 feet away from the Kundes. That order was modified to allow her access to her home, and to help an elderly neighbor. A hearing on that order of protection is scheduled for next month.
The incident this summer wasn’t the first controversy for Schmidt.
At the time, she had already announced plans to retire after the end of her current term, after a police had released a series of 911 tapes that raised questions whether she was trying to quash a police investigation into domestic disputes with her husband.
On Christmas Day 2010, Schmidt called 911 during a dispute with her husband, and told a 911 operator to ignore any calls from her husband, after she locked him out of their house. During the call, she told the operator she was the former Lake County Board Chairman, and that her husband was afraid of her, “because he knows I have connections.”
Police also visited Schmidt’s home twice last year to respond to 911 calls involving domestic disputes between Schmidt and her husband.
In one of those 911 calls, her husband accused Schmidt of biting him. At first, she repeatedly denied it, then later admitted it, saying “you bet I did” when her husband said she had begun swinging at him and scratching his face, then bit him when he tried to fight her off.
Her husband, Robert, has since filed for divorce.