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Indicted Rep. Smith Skips House Investigation Hearing

By Chris Bentley in News on Apr 27, 2012 1:30PM

2012_3_23_derrick_smith.jpg A six-member committee convened Thursday to discuss State Rep. Derrick Smith, the 10th District democrat indicted on a federal bribery charge. But Smith didn't show.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald wouldn’t provide evidence to The House Special Investigating Committee, which was considering whether sanctioning Smith would interfere with the criminal investigation currently underway.

The committee unanimously voted to send Smith a letter asking him to answer questions about his alleged behavior. Committee Chair Rep. Elaine Nekritz said Smith’s absence could count against him in their consideration of sanctions, the Sun-Times reports:

“The only thing I understand is in a criminal case, the taking of the Fifth Amendment can’t be used against a defendant. That’s not true in this proceeding,” she said. “In this kind of a proceeding, it’s my understanding the law allows us to take that into account in making a determination.”

One hotly anticipated detail was the identity of an informant known as “Alderman A,” but Fitzgerald did not respond to that — or many other requests for information — made by the committee earlier this month. Smith is under investigation by the Illinois House for “gross breach of public trust.”

Smith may have won his primary, but high-ranking democrats have called for him to resign. Ald. Jason Ervin’s office urged the beleaguered Smith to “go to work” or resign. Ervin’s 28th ward sits within Smith’s West Side congressional district. Smith’s arraignment is scheduled for Monday.