But in their bid to avoid responsibility for the 25,000 negative fliers mailed to residents of Missouri's 3rd Congressional District, Smith and Adams lied to FBI agents and the Federal Election Commission. On tape recordings obtained by federal authorities, they discussed blaming it all on a dead former colleague. And they bought throwaway cell phones to avoid surveillance, at one point likening themselves to characters on the HBO crime drama "The Wire.". . .
The scheme the three defendants admitted hatching was wide-reaching, involving politicians on the local, state and national stage. . .
John Gillies, head of the local office of the FBI, called it "pure stupidity. . . You've got a Ph.D., you've got a J.D. from Washington University, another guy with a master's and all this - for what?" he said. "Just so they could get a little bit more power, feel a little bit better about themselves that they're big shots in town."
Each man also now faces 15 to 21 months in federal prison under sentencing guidelines