State trooper guilty of bribery, official misconduct

State trooper guilty of bribery, official misconduct

DANVILLE — A Vermilion County jury took less than two hours Tuesday to convict an Illinois state trooper of bribery and official misconduct.

Keith Lumsargis, 46, of Westville, a 13-year veteran of the state police, was arrested in May 2014 on the bribery and misconduct charges at the Possum Trot restaurant near Oakwood, where he had just paid for the dinner of a Tilton police officer, whom Lumsargis believed had recently made good on his requests to ticket his ex-girlfriend.

Lumsargis was accused of repeatedly encouraging over a three-month period in early 2014 multiple local village police officers through text messages and in-person conversations to stop his ex-girlfriend, Mary Bailey, and give her a ticket, including telling officers exactly when she would be drinking at a restaurant one night and possibly driving with her daughter afterward.

Lumsargis, who took the stand in his defense Tuesday, said this was out of concern for his ex-girlfriend’s daughter. His defense attorney, Michael Zopf, argued that the information he was passing along to other officers was normal tips about possible criminal activity, and he never asked officers to ticket her for something she wasn’t doing or to violate her civil rights.

Zopf argued that the conversations and texts between Lumsargis and other officers were generally cop talk among officers.

Prosecutors Sarah Carlson and Ryan Thomas argued that Lumsargis had a vendetta against Bailey, who broke up with him in February 2014, and abused his power as a police officer to try to get revenge.

In the spring of 2014, Tilton Officer Ryan Schull eventually reported Lumsargis to state police internal investigations, and that department launched an investigation that included Schull recording multiple conversations between himself and Lumsargis discussing how to go about stopping and ticketing Bailey, and Lumsargis offering a steak dinner in return.

Schull also wore a wire when he took a fake traffic ticket charging Bailey to Lumsargis, who can be heard in the recording laughing about the ticket and asking Schull where he wants to go to dinner. The investigation culminated on May 22, 2014, when Lumsargis took Schull to dinner at the Possum Trot and paid $12.95 for a meal for Schull, who ordered chicken instead of steak.

Illinois state police arrested Lumsargis on his way out of the restaurant.

Lumsargis is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 27 in Vermilion County Circuit Court.

Sections (2):News, Local
-