A state lawmaker has been found guilty of accepting bribes. Jurors only needed four hours of deliberations to agree that State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) was guilty of asking a day care business for $7,000 in return for a letter supporting their application for state grants.
Smith believes he had been unfairly targeted by an informant for the FBI because he’s a public official. “That’s what I was doing – serving the people – and I don’t know why I was singled out,” Smith said.
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First assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Shapiro says the sting operation wasn’t overkill. “Derrick Smith is an Illinois state representative,” Shapiro said. “He’s an elected public official who votes on very important things for this state, which has a somewhat mixed record of political service.”
Shapiro says the U.S. attorney’s office will continue going after corrupt politicians, though he added he’s not sure politicians are heeding that warning.
By state law, Smith’s convictions will automatically remove him from the legislature. He had been tossed out of the House after being indicted in 2012, but won election later that year (He had initially been appointed to the seat). He would have been out of office after this year anyway, as he had lost in the Democratic primary in March.
Smith now faces up to 20 years in prison. He’s set to be sentenced later this year.