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Illinois Lawmaker Facing Criminal Charges for Allegedly Accepting a Bribe

Posted on in High-Profile Crimes

State Rep. Derrick Smith, 48, appeared in a federal courtroom Monday and plead not guilty to accepting a bribe in exchange for using his influence to obtain a state grant for a day care center. Smith had been arrested in March on the federal bribery charges and indicted on April 10th.

Prosecutors allege that Smith accepted a $7,000 cash bribe from a campaign worker, who was actually an undercover FBI informant. According to the criminal complaint, the congressman thought he was taking the money to provide an official letter in support of a $50,000 grant request from a day care center, which turned out to be non-existent and was part of the sting operation. If convicted, Smith faces up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is due in court May 16th.

Some lawmakers, including Gov. Pat Quinn, have called for Smith to resign from office. But the congressman, who just days after his arrest won the Democratic nomination in the Illinois primary, vows he will stay in office and fight the charges.

The Chicago Tribune reports that after entering his plea, Smith, with his family standing behind him in the courthouse lobby, said, “I will not cower. I intend to stand tall. . . The people in my district elected me on March 20, 2012, even after the government charged me with wrongdoing. And that’s because they believed in me.”

Smith’s attorney has called into question the character of the government’s informant. Originally, prosecutors disclosed only one prior arrest for domestic assault. But last month, they disclosed that the informant has a 2004 drug conviction and a 1978 burglary conviction, both resulting in probation. There have also been at least twenty other arrests for assorted charges, including burglary and weapon offenses.

If you’ve been accused of a white collar crime in Illinois, ensure you receive the best defense by consulting with an experienced Naperville, Illinois white collar crime lawyer.

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