Derrick Smith Absent at House Panel Hearing

Rep. Smith was indicted on a federal bribery count after allegedly accepting a $7,000 bribe

By Mary Ann Ahern
|  Thursday, Apr 26, 2012  |  Updated 12:00 PM CDT
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Smith in Hiding as House Investigation Begins

Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago)

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Smith in Hiding as House Investigation Begins

Illinois lawmakers considering the expulsion of Rep. Derrick Smith said Tuesday they will move quickly to decide the case regardless of whether they get assistance from federal prosecutors who charged the Chicago Democrat with bribery.
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State Rep. Derrick Smith was a no-show Thursday morning at a hearing with the Special House Investigative Committee looking into whether Smith should be ousted from the House after his indictment on federal bribery charges.  

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald told the House Committee by letter that “his office is not willing to provide documents” to them, however, Fitzgerald said Smith is free to speak to the committee.

The committee voted 6-0 to ask Smith to testify. If he does not, they may seek a subpoena.   

“We owe it to the public,” State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) said. Nekritz promises “to not wait forever, but he is expected to enter a plea next week.” 

Smith has a court date on April 30, when his lawyer has already said Smith will plead not guilty.

Smith was indicted on a federal bribery count after allegedly accepting a $7,000 bribe from undercover officers. The Illinois House Special Investigative Committee will take in the case Thursday morning.

According to federal authorities, one of Smith's former campaign workers, who was working with investigators, approached Smith with information about a day care owner who was seeking a state grant to make repairs on the facility.

The campaign worker, however, happened to be working undercover with the FBI and the story about the day care operator was a ruse.

The indictment asks Smith to give back $4,500 in unrecovered proceeds of the alleged bribe payment. He could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if found guilty.

Smith this month returned to work in Springfield after staying out of sight since being indicted. Smith has vowed to stay on the job despite the accusations.

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