EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A federal jury convicted an East St. Louis man Wednesday afternoon for producing child pornography and attempting to tamper with the victim’s testimony before the trial.
According to the US Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, 43-year-old Avery Smartt Jr. engaged in a months-long sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl beginning in Sept. 2016.
Federal prosecutors said Smartt, who worked as a truck driver, took the girl on trips out of state during their relationship.
The girl testified in court that Smartt took sexually explicit photographs of her during those trips. FBI agents took Smartt’s cellphone and found numerous sexually explicit images of the victim.
The trial also featured DNA evidence showing that Smartt had a child with the girl.
Smartt was indicted for the child pornography charge in Aug. 2020.
While Smartt was in the Clinton County Jail awaiting trial, he sent letters to friends and
family members asking them to contact the victim and encourage her to change her testimony.
These letters influenced the tampering charge.
Smartt is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 3, 2021. He faces between 15 and 30 years in prison for producing child pornography. Smartt could also receive as much as 20 years in prison for attempting to tamper with the victim’s testimony.