A panel of lawmakers from the Illinois House has decided to expel a fellow legislator who’s accused of taking a bribe in exchange for help in securing a state grant.   Indicted State Representative Derrick Smith, a Chicago Democrat, was a no-show at a hearing to determine his fate as a state lawmaker.  The hearing, much like a trial, featured opening and closing arguments.
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State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) acted as one of two prosecutors during the hearing and jumped on the fact that Smith wasn’t present.  “Mr. Smith, did you accept a seven-thousand-dollar bribe?” Lang questioned towards an empty chair, “Do you hear the silence?” he countered to members of the committee.  But his attorney, Victor Henderson, says Smith didn’t show because he didn’t think he would get a fair shake and questioned whether lawmakers would believe him if he did refute the charges.
The vote was 11 – 1 in favor of expulsion with State Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields) the lone dissenter. The full Illinois House will now have to vote on his dismissal.  Smith is also awaiting trial in federal court.
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