Ex-Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith arraigned in federal court for obstruction

Former Macomb County prosecutor Eric Smith found himself on the defense side of the courtroom on Friday as he was arraigned on a federal charge of obstruction of justice, tied to an alleged embezzlement scheme that forced him out of office a year ago.

Eric Smith appeared in federal court on charges that he took approximately $75,000 in campaign funds and used the money for personal use.

Smith signed an agreement saying he would plead guilty to obstruction of justice and he agreed to give up his right to appeal, on any grounds, if his sentence "does not exceed 21 months" in prison.

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However, on Friday the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Smith resigned as Macomb County Prosecutor in late March after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel accused him of running a criminal enterprise dating back to 2012.

He allegedly used about $600,000 in forfeiture funds for a personal security system for his home, country club parties and flowers and make-up for his employees

That case is being handled in state court and he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Smith has said publicly that he acted irresponsibly and recklessly but he says he never compromised when it came to protecting the citizens of Macomb County.