Reporting Bob Roberts
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CHICAGO (CBS) — A vote is coming Friday that could expel Illinois State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) from the General Assembly.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports, Smith is charged with taking a $7,000 cash bribe in exchange for his endorsement of what he thought was a daycare center’s state grant application.
Smith refused to take questions from a House committee charged with investigating the accusations, making only a brief statement in which he said, “I intend to fight these charges. I look forward to having the opportunity to clear my name.”
He also said he had entered a plea of not guilty, but he did not actually deny wrongdoing.
Smith’s attorney, Victor Henderson, did not return WBBM Newsradio’s calls, but told Newsradio in an interview last month that lawmakers are rushing to judgment without being allowed to see information held by prosecutors, which he seeks to release.
“We are confident that once all of the information comes out — and again, I’m going to emphasize all of the information — that the representative is going to be exonerated, and that’s what we’re trying to do as we speak,” he said in the July 7 interview.
If the House votes to expel Smith on Friday — and legislative leaders believe they have the votes — Smith would be the first member to be expelled in 107 years. But even if he is, his name remains on the November ballot, and the House cannot act to expel him a second time.
Smith won his primary in March by a 3-to-1 margin — one week after his arrest.