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State Sen. Suzi Schmidt pleads innocent to harassing neighbors

State Sen. Suzi Schmidt

State Sen. Suzi Schmidt

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Updated: June 27, 2012 11:39AM

State Sen. Suzi Schmidt formally pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor criminal damage and trespassing charges stemming from a dispute with a neighbor family.

Schmidt also had a Lake County judge modify an anti-stalking, no-contact order to essentially allow her to move back into her home outside of Lake Villa.

The neighbors earlier this month had obtained the order to bar her from coming within 500 feet of their property after she allegedly had harassed them for more than a year with phone calls, emails and texts.

The family — who prosecutors said didn’t object to Schmidt returning to her home — had contended in court documents that Schmidt at one point told their 7-year-old son his mother was having an affair with Schmidt’s estranged husband.

Schmidt declined to comment after the brief court hearing, but her attorney described the clash as “a neighbors’ dispute.”

“Their allegations are exaggerations,” attorney Charles Schneider said, adding some of their claims were “fabrications.”

The purported harassment began on Christmas Day 2010 — the same day Schmidt was heard on a 911 call asking police to disregard any calls from her husband, Robert, about a domestic problem. Schmidt locked her husband out of their house that day during a quarrel, authorities have said.

She was not arrested after that incident because authorities determined no laws were broken, though the veteran Republican lawmaker later announced she would not run for re-election and would seek counseling.

Her husband, meanwhile, filed for divorce.

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