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Illinois lawmaker with gun in luggage out on bail

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 8:26 p.m.

CHICAGO — A veteran Illinois state senator charged with trying to board a flight with a gun and ammunition in a carry-on bag was released on bail Thursday.

A Cook County judge set bond at $25,000 for state Sen. Donne Trotter, who recently announced he was running for Jesse Jackson's old seat in Congress. Trotter's defense attorney argued for reasonable bail, citing Trotter's decades of public service and 26-year marriage.

“He's lived a life dedicated to serving the people of Illinois,” defense attorney Joshua Herman said.

Trotter was released from custody a short time later. The Chicago Democrat refused to answer reporters' questions before walking away from the courthouse.

Trotter was going through security at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday when Transportation Security Administration officers found during routine X-ray screening an unloaded handgun in an outside zippered pocket of his garment bag. Also found was a magazine clip with six bullets.

The 62-year-old father of four was charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries a sentence of one to three years in prison if he is convicted.

After being stopped at O'Hare, Trotter told officers he uses the .25-caliber Beretta handgun for his job with a security company.

“He did not realize it was still in his bag,” assistant state's attorney Lorraine Scaduto said.

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