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Criminal case against former Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith just got stronger

Posted at 5:05 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 17:18:28-04

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (WXYZ) — William Weber is the businessman Eric Smith hired to install security cameras at Smith’s home.

The cameras were removed by Michigan State Police in a raid in May of 2019. Weber told a judge today, “Mr. Smith told me that he did not want the public, media, county executive, or law enforcement to know that the work paid for with the county's forfeiture account was done at his personal residence.”

He was a businessman under the gun from the highest-ranking law enforcement official in Macomb County to play ball.

County Executive Mark Hackel tells 7 Action News, “The most difficult part about it is for the prosecutor of the county, asking business people too, I guess if you will be a party to that. And, you know, how do they say no, that was a challenge for them and so it put them in a real precarious situation.”

Weber was staring down felony charges of forgery, theft, and aiding an embezzlement. In a plea deal, Weber is now only charged with one misdemeanor in exchange for his cooperation and testimony against Smith.

Another former Prosecutor Ben Liston who was charged took a plea deal last September and will testify against his former boss.

Assistant Prosecutor Derrick Miller remains as a defendant in the criminal case.

In April of 2019, State Police also raided Smith’s County Prosecutor’s Office and seized records that could back the allegation of misuse of $600,000 in forfeiture funds for many years.

Smith was prosecutor from 1993 until he resigned last year after being charged with Racketeering, Embezzlement, and Tampering with Evidence and decades in prison if convicted

The feds charged Smith with Obstruction of Justice and Smith pleaded guilty last year. That sentencing is on hold until the State Attorney General’s case is finished.

Smith’s Defense Attorney John Dakmak tells 7 Action News they are looking forward to hearing the evidence in a preliminary exam next month.

Going to trial and facing conviction as charged may not happen.

Hackel says, “yeah I'm not surprised because I don't know that it's gonna go that far. I think it's just an attempt, you know, through the legal process to get the best deal you can and so with that being said, you got a challenge here with, you know, the fact that you've got witnesses key eyewitnesses testifying against you and how you pretty much have to call them liars.”

The preliminary exam is set for July 9 in court in person with a visiting judge from Oakland County.