Judge allows tapes at bribery trial to be released

CHICAGO – A federal judge in Chicago has agreed to publicly release secret recordings when they’re entered into evidence at an Illinois lawmaker’s bribery trial.

Her ruling came Tuesday as the fourth day of testimony at Rep. Derrick Smith’s trial began.

Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman previously said the recordings couldn’t be made public until the trial ended.

But the Chicago Tribune filed a motion this week asking her to reconsider. The newspaper argued that media act as surrogates for the public and that the right of access to evidence after it’s entered in open court is well established.

An informant secretly recorded Smith allegedly arranging a $7,000 bribe from a day care center as part of an FBI sting. Jurors began hearing recordings Monday.

Smith has denied any wrongdoing.