Rep. Derrick Smith indicted on bribery charge, remains holed up but maintains innocence

Rep. Derrick Smith indicted on bribery charge, remains holed up but maintains innocence

Tenth District state Rep. Derrick Smith was formally indicted on federal charges of bribery today, Capitol Fax's Rich Miller reported this afternoon.

Miller linked to a copy of the federal indictment on his blog.

The federal grand jury's indictment alleges that Smith accepted $7,000 in exchange for writing an endorsement letter for a non-profit he thought was seeking a $50,000 grant.

The alleged bribe Smith took ended up being part of federal sting, which led to his arrest a week before the March 20 Democratic primary.

The indictment also asks that Smith fork over $4,500 in "unrecovered proceeds".

Since handily winning the 10th District, on the West Side, in the March 20 primary, Smith has been totally M.I.A. in Springfield.

Smith has missed about 150 votes, and his negligence drove one alderman and committeeman whose ward is in Smith's district to demand that Smith either "get back to work" or resign.

Twenty-eighth Ward Alderman Jason Ervin told reporters at city hall on Tuesday that Smith's behavior was unacceptable.

"I’m not trying to force him out. I’m trying to get service to the residents of the 28th Ward. It’s not about him stepping down. It’s about him going to work. Do one or the other. But to stay at home, collect a check and do nothing is not acceptable," Ervin said, of Smith.

Ervin is also the 28th Ward committeeman, and the 28th Ward is part of the 10th District.

Smith still isn't saying anything, but his attorney, Victor Henderson, told the Chicago Sun-Times that his client is "innocent", calling the accusations a "travesty."

It is not clear what impact the federal indictment will have on the proceedings of a bipartisan House committee that was formed to investigate Smith's alleged misconduct.

The committee postponed a meeting that was supposed to be held this week, when it learned, last week, of the possibility of "further court action."

A call to the committee's chair, 57th District state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, was not immediately returned.

© Community Renewal Society 2012


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