Attorneys debate use of 'pimping' in bribery trial of Illinois lawmaker

December 18, 2013

AP/File
Attorneys for Illinois State Rep. Derrick Smith argued to have some of his racy language banned from the representative’s upcoming trial. Smith is accused of accepting a $7,000 bribe.

As they prepare for the trial of an Illinois state representative accused of taking a bribe, attorneys are debating the use of the politician’s racy language as evidence.

Federal prosecutors say they have Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, on tape asking for $7,000 in cash in exchange for backing a grant application. Smith’s defense attorneys say Smith was entrapped by the campaign worker who recorded him.

The representative’s trial is scheduled to begin next month. Attorneys were in court Wednesday to go over some details about the case.

In one instance, Smith’s attorneys want to ban from the trial a recording in which they say Smith used the word “pimping” when describing his job duties in the legislature. They say the comment is unrelated to the charges.

Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman said the word can have various meanings. Prosecutors jokingly said it can even refer to something good, such as on the MTV show “Pimp My Ride.”

The judge is expected to rule on that and other legal issues by the end of the week.

Smith was expelled from the state House of Representatives by his fellow lawmakers in August 2012, after his bribery indictment. But voters in his district on Chicago’s West and Near North Sides voted him back into office that November.

Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics. Follow him @tonyjarnold.

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