Man accused of conspiracy to intimidate a witness: 'If he doesn't show up for court, the case would be dismissed'

WAUKESHA COUNTY -- A Waukesha man is accused of contacting individuals while in jail, in an effort to encourage a victim in his armed robbery case to not show up to court.

Diante Smith, 28, of Waukesha faces two counts of conspiracy to commit felony intimidation of a witness, as party to a crime.

A criminal complaint notes that Smith was charged with felony armed robbery as party to a crime in January, and upon making his initial appearance in court, cash bond was set at $25,000, with the condition that he commit no further crimes. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victim and witness listed in the criminal complaint. The case was set for a jury trial, scheduled to begin on May 8.

Police obtained jail call recordings and call logs for Smith during his time in custody at the Waukesha County Jail from Jan. 11 through May 4. It was noted that there were several conversations regarding the victim in the above case -- that "if he doesn't show up for court, the case would be dismissed." The complaint says a message was sent to an individual regarding the fact that "they needed to take care of that." Smith said "he needed to be careful, and not say too much on the phone."

The complaint says there was a conversation on April 28, during which the individual Smith called said "he tried that line and nobody answered." Smith "said they had to get that (expletive) on the line," saying "we gotta holler at that (expletive)." The other individual then sai d"you want me to get down on that (expletive)?" They discussed how the trial was set to start soon and "if the victim doesn't show up for court the case will be dropped." When Smith was asked if he wanted the other individual "to ride down on that" Smith said "if it come to that -- tell the (expletive) what it is." Smith then again provided the phone number for the victim in his case to the other individual he was speaking to, and he said the victim's name -- telling the other individual to "holler at him today."

That telephone number matched the victim's phone number listed in court documents related to the case.

According to the complaint, there were several other phone calls related to the case and the upcoming trial and the fact that if the victim doesn't show up in court, the case will be dismissed. Smith told other individuals "he needs them to take care of this."

The complaint makes reference to another phone call on April 28, during which the victim was discussed, and the complaint says Smith told the individual to whom he was speaking to tell the victim to "step up out the way man, you know what I'm saying?" The complaint includes a transcript of a phone call made by the other individual to the victim, during which the individual said "if you keep that (expletive) 100, (expletive) will give you some cheese (money) if a (expletive) don't show up to court."

A third phone call was made by Smith on April 28, and he and another individual "talk about going out and talking to (the victim)." Smith provided this person with the victim's address in Brown Deer.

The complaint indicates investigators discovered "several additional phone calls" where Smith is alleged to have discussed with other people how much money they would give the victim to not appear at court. On April 29, the complaint says Smith told an individual to "scare the (expletive) outta (expletive). I need y'all to make it right for me."

The complaint says Smith talked with people about how the victim may have been offered "three in and three out" to testify against him.

Smith made his initial appearance in court in this case on May 8. A hearing was set for May 16, and cash bond was set at $10,000.

Meanwhile, a hearing was set for May 23 in the armed robbery case. He faces the felony armed robbery charge, with threat of force, as party to a crime, repeater, and one count of misdemeanor bail jumping, repeater.

Online court records note his phone and mail privileges were prohibited in jail, with the only exception being contact with his attorney.

He also has an open case filed in November out of Milwaukee County for theft of movable property, less than $2,500. A bench warrant was issued in March after he failed to appear in court.