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Attorney pleads not guilty in case

ROCKFORD – An Algonquin attorney Wednesday pleaded not guilty to seven counts of using interstate facilities in a murder-for-hire scheme.

Jason W. Smiekel, 29, is accused of soliciting at least five people to kill his fiancee’s ex-boyfriend. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined $250,000 for each count.

Smiekel was arrested Aug. 4 in the parking lot of an Elgin restaurant after allegedly passing $7,000 to an undercover agent from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, prosecutors said.

Smiekel allegedly said that the intended victim, who also is his former client, had “dirt” on him that could ruin his career.

He remained in police custody after a federal judge last week reversed an earlier ruling that would have allowed Smiekel to be free on home incarceration, where he would be allowed to leave his mother’s house only under strict conditions.

– Sarah Sutschek

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