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Ex-Globetrotter makes case for being on ballot

By Andrew Demillo

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, April 5 2012 1:19 p.m. MDT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An attorney for former legislator and Harlem Globetrotter Fred Smith says the ex-lawmaker is eligible to run for his old House seat because he wasn't technically convicted when he was found guilty of a felony theft charge last year.

A Pulaski County judge heard arguments Thursday in the Democratic Party's lawsuit seeking to block Smith from the May 22 primary ballot.

State Sen. David Burnett, who is representing Smith, said the former legislator received a deferred sentence for theft of property delivered by mistake. Burnett argues the sentence doesn't amount to a conviction.

A lawyer for the Democratic Party says Smith was not eligible at the time of filing because the case had not yet been dismissed.

Smith resigned from the House last year after being found guilty.

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