WBEZ | bribe http://www.wbez.org/tags/bribe Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en FBI agents say indicted state rep took them to get bribe cash http://www.wbez.org/news/fbi-agents-say-indicted-state-rep-took-them-get-bribe-cash-110027 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/derricksmith.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Federal prosecutors say indicted Illinois State Rep. Derrick Smith took FBI agents to his house and turned over cash he had allegedly taken as a bribe. But Smith&rsquo;s attorneys are trying to make sure that information does not come up at his pending trial.</p><p>Smith was arrested more than two years ago and charged with taking $7,000 in exchange for writing a letter of support for a daycare operator applying for a grant.</p><p>In a new court filing, federal prosecutors say Smith repeatedly told FBI agents after he was read his Miranda rights that he &ldquo;f***ed up&rdquo; -- and never should&rsquo;ve written the letter or taken the $7,000.</p><p>&ldquo;Smith stated that it was all about getting money to put money back out on the streets in the hands of his campaign workers,&rdquo; FBI agents Bryan Butler and Timothy Keese wrote in the report, made public Monday, that is a government exhibit in his court case.</p><p>The agents wrote that Smith even took FBI agents to his house and turned over the remaining $2,500 from the alleged $7,000 bribe. Smith, before he was arrested, had already given some money to the campaign worker who had secretly recorded him, as pay for the assistant&rsquo;s work, and to another individual not identified by FBI agents in their report.</p><p>Smith&rsquo;s defense attorneys say the comments he made to the FBI following his arrest should not be allowed at trial because Smith thought they were part of his plea negotiations.</p><p>Prosecutors say Smith made those comments before an attorney entered the room. And even then, they say, the federal prosecutor did not negotiate a plea deal with him.</p><p>Smith was appointed to the Illinois House in 2011. The agents write Smith was &ldquo;going crazy&rdquo; about a primary challenger he faced in the March 2012 election. They say Smith told them he did not want to lose the election, but needed money to pay campaign workers so they would stay loyal to his campaign.</p><p>Smith, who represents parts of Chicago&rsquo;s West and North sides, defeated Tom Swiss in the 2012 Democratic primary. Other Democrats had encouraged primary voters to support Smith despite his arrest, claiming that Swiss was a Republican running as a Democrat.</p><p>After Smith won the primary, Illinois House members voted to expel him from the chamber -- in an act that had not been done in 100 years. But Smith had already won the primary, remained on the ballot and won election back to the state House that November.</p><p>Smith, however, will not be returning to Springfield next year. He lost his bid for another term in office to attorney Pamela Reaves-Harris in the Democratic primary last month.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Ftonyjarnold&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNFPSylltvw6suohIk5BgHodNjZYxg">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/fbi-agents-say-indicted-state-rep-took-them-get-bribe-cash-110027 Judge wants hearing into main witness in bribery case against Illinois lawmaker http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-wants-hearing-main-witness-bribery-case-against-illinois-lawmaker-105223 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F77158061" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Defense attorneys for an Illinois state representative facing bribery charges scored a victory Wednesday in their attacks against the credibility of the prosecutors&rsquo; main witness.</p><p>While State Rep. Derrick Smith was in Springfield for a House session, his attorney, Victor Henderson, was winning an argument in front of a federal judge in Chicago.</p><p>Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruled she would hold a rare hearing into whether law enforcement knowingly gave false information about a main witness in the Derrick Smith case.</p><p>Prosecutors say the source, whose name has not been made public, secretly recorded Smith in 27 conversations, including one in which the Chicago Democrat allegedly asked for a $7,000 cash bribe. Prosecutors say Smith is heard on tape saying he wants the money in cash because, he allegedly said, &quot;I don&#39;t want no trace of it.&quot; In exchange for the money, prosecutors say Smith wrote a letter of recommendation for a grant application.</p><p>Early on in the case, federal investigators said the source who secretly recorded Smith had one prior arrest for domestic assault. Investigators also said the source had been paid $1,200 by the FBI for work in other investigations.&nbsp;</p><p>But Smith&rsquo;s defense attorneys call that witness a con man who has actually been arrested 20 times.</p><p>Prosecutors concur the source has been arrested for a range of offenses, including burglary, theft, drug offenses and weapons offenses. They say the witness has been convicted twice: once for a 2004 drug conviction and once in 1978 for burglary. The source was sentenced to probation for both offenses.</p><p>Smith&rsquo;s attorneys also say the witness has not been paid $1,200 by the FBI, but $2,100.</p><p>The hearing scheduled for next month will look into what investigators knew about the witness, and that could impact the evidence allowed at trial.</p><p>Smith&rsquo;s attorney would not comment after the judge&rsquo;s decision on Wednesday.</p><p>Smith was first appointed to represent parts of Chicago&rsquo;s West and North Sides in Springfield in 2011. His fellow House of Representatives members kicked him out of his seat last year after he was arrested. But Smith won back his House seat in November&rsquo;s election, even though several high-ranking Illinois politicians supported his third party opponent.</p><p>Some of the same representatives who voted to kick Smith out of the House have said he will have a hard time representing his district with the criminal charges hanging over his head. They have said Illinois&rsquo; constitution forbids legislators from being kicked out of the House twice for the same offense.</p><p>Smith&rsquo;s trial is scheduled to start in October.</p></p> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 14:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-wants-hearing-main-witness-bribery-case-against-illinois-lawmaker-105223 Illinois lawmaker arrested for taking bribe http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-lawmaker-arrested-taking-bribe-97254 <p><p><em>Updated at 6:55 p.m. </em></p><p>Federal authorities arrested an Illinois state representative from Chicago on one count federal bribery charge Tuesday. Democrat Derrick Smith represents the 10th House District, which includes sections of the city's West and North sides.</p><p>The U.S. Attorney's office said it has Smith on tape accepting a $7,000 cash bribe this past weekend. Prosecutors alleged Smith took the bribe in exchange for supporting a $50,000 state grant request from a daycare center.</p><p>According to the criminal complaint, it was all set up by a paid FBI informant who did campaign work for Smith. The informant's conversations with the representative were recorded, the complaint said.</p><p>A call and e-mail to Smith's office were not returned. He appeared in court Tuesday afternoon, but made no comment about the charges.</p><p>Smith has only been a member of the House since last spring, when, with the backing of Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, he was appointed to fill a vacancy.</p><p>"I am very disappointed with the conduct alleged in the charges," White said in a statement. "I am confident this case will be handled fairly and justly by the judicial system."</p><p>Smith's arrest came a week before Democratic voters pick between him and challenger Tom Swiss. Swiss said he thinks the news could actually cause problems for his campaign, by awakening Democratic leaders backing Smith who may have been taking the race for granted.</p><p>"This is going to alert everybody to this race and there's still six days left," Swiss said. "There's a lot bigger people out there with deeper pockets and larger armies that can come in and really do an awful lot of work."</p><p>Swiss is a former local Republican official who Democrats claim has run a racially-insensitive campaign in this West and North Side district.</p><p><em>WBEZ's Michell Eloy contributed reporting.</em></p></p> Tue, 13 Mar 2012 19:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-lawmaker-arrested-taking-bribe-97254