Indicted Lawmaker Smith Fails to Show For Legislative Hearing

April 26, 2012

Indicted State Representative Derrick Smith was a no-show Thursday at a meeting of a special House committee investigating his conduct.

But legislators are requesting he make an appearance next time.

Legislators on the bipartisan investigative committee had asked the U.S. Attorney for more information about the circumstances leading to Smith's arrest.

He's accused of taking a $7,000 bribe in exchange for writing a letter of recommendation for a preschool.

Prosecutors refused, and said it could jeopardize the case if the committee investigated on its own.

With one exception, legislators are free to interview Smith.

The committee is sending a letter to Smith and his attorneys asking he come before it.

"We are dedicated to obtaining as much information as we possibly can before we come to a conclusion, and we owe that I think to the charge that's been given us," said committee chair Elaine Nekritz, a Democrat from Northbrook. "We owe this to the public and we certainly owe that to Representative Smith."

Otherwise, Nekritz says the committee members hands are "significantly tied" by the criminal proceedings.

Vic Henderson is Smith's attorney, and he's strongly hinting he'll argue the government entrapped his client.

"They manufactured documents, created fictitious website venues and things of that nature," Henderson said.

The legislative panel is waiting to set its next hearing until after Smith's arraignment on Monday. He's expected to plead not guilty.

Story source: AP