State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) appeared before an Illinois House special investigative committee today, pleading his innocence to federal bribery charges. However, Smith mostly didn't take questions from his House colleagues. Smith's lawyer Victor Henderson said his client did not want to let "prosecutors in Chicago know the nuances of our defense." U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald charged Smith with taking $7,500 from an FBI informant who posed as a day care operator in search of a state grant.
Unlike Fitzgerald, the Illinois House Special Investigating Committee cannot throw Smith in jail. But they can kick him out of the General Assembly -- the committee will recommend charges against Smith that will then be considered by the Select Committee on Discipline. The discipline committee will decide on sanctions, which could include his removal from office. Democratic and Republican state leaders have both called on Smith to resign.