The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

House Panel Gets No Answers from Indicted Rep. Derrick Smith

By Chris Bentley in News on May 11, 2012 8:40PM

2012_3_23_derrick_smith.jpg After pleading not guilty in federal court to charges of bribery last week, indicted state Rep. Derrick Smith came before a house panel Thursday and refused to answer any of their questions.

The House Special Investigating Committee could recommend sanctions or even expulsion from the House for the freshly reelected West Side democrat. So far their deliberations have carried on without full disclosure from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and without Smith's presence at all.

Authorities said Smith took $7,000 in cash in exchange for writing a letter on behalf of a daycare center that he believed was seeking a $50,000 state grant. Smith’s conversations with a government informant were allegedly caught on tape.

“These allegations were provided by an agent who’s already acknowledged making misstatements to a sitting federal judge, and they need to be read in that context,” said Smith’s lawyer, Victor Henderson, according to the Sun-Times. Though loath to answer any questions about his client’s alleged activity, Henderson brought up an April 10 letter from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald that outlined “two inaccurate statements” filed by an FBI agent that was the basis for the criminal complaint.

The informant in the complaint, the U.S. Attorney’s letter revealed, had “approximately 20 prior arrests” and two convictions not previously mentioned in the affidavit.

Henderson likened Smith to former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who was convicted of federal corruption charges that were later overturned. Smith faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.