Indicted state lawmaker refuses to testify before House Panel

May 10, 2012

Amanda Vinicky

Indicted Illinois State Rep. Derrick Smith professed his innocence before a House panel investigating his actions. But Smith refused to answer questions or to testify under oath.

Smith told members of the special investigative committee that while he wishes he could respond to questions about the bribery case against him, his lawyers advise against it. But he read a statement, saying he'll keep representing the West side of Chicago in the Illinois House as he works to clear his name.

"I will continue to represent the interests of the people in the district," Smith said. "They elected me, despite the fact that the government had levied a charge against me just a week before the primary.  In the same way that the people in the district did not abandon me, I will not abandon them."

The question is, will Smith's colleagues in the House abandon him first?  The committee was formed to decide whether he should be kicked out of office.

The Democrat's accused of taking a $7,000 bribe to help a daycare seeking a state grant.

He pleaded not guilty last week.

Smith's lawyer raised questions about the FBI sting that lead to the arrest and asked legislators to wait before casting judgment.