Feds formally indict Derrick Smith

Ald. Jason Ervin and Gov. Pat Quinn step up pressure on Smith to resign

April 10, 2012

Download Story

A federal grand jury indicted Illinois State Rep. Derrick Smith on a bribery charge Tuesday. The Chicago Democrat was arrested last month for allegedly accepting a $7,000 bribe.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Chicago alderman called on Smith to start showing up in Springfield, or resign. Ald. Jason Ervin's 28th ward includes part of the10th Illinois House district represented by Smith.

Ervin pointed out that Smith's been absent from the legislature since his arrest, and has missed lots of votes.

"While we understand that Rep. Smith has a right to due process and a right to defend himself, he does not have a right to stay at home, not represent the district, and also collect a paycheck," Ervin said at a City Hall press conference.

If Smith does resign from his current term, Ervin would be among the Democratic leaders to pick his replacement.

Gov. Pat Quinn, also a Chicago Democrat, already said he thinks Smith should resign. On Tuesday, Quinn said Smith doesn't really have a choice.

"Basically, if he doesn't resign, I think odds are he'll be expelled from the legislature," Quinn said.

Despite his arrest a week before the primary election, Smith won on March 20th. So even if he's expelled by fellow lawmakers, he would remain on the November ballot.

If he chooses to give up the nomination, Democratic leaders - including Ervin - would select a new general election candidate.

Smith hasn't answered requests for comment, but his attorney said on WLS Radio last week that his client would plead not guilty.