State Representative Derrick Smith is holding on to his seat in the Illinois House despite his indictment in April. But a legislative committee that could set the stage for his ouster is scheduled to meet for the first time Wednesday. Smith is accused of accepting $7,000 in exchange for helping a daycare receive a state grant. It was an FBI sting. The Chicago Democrat is fighting the bribery charge in federal court. There, he's innocent until proven guilty. But there's no such standard in the Illinois General Assembly, which could vote to expel him. Representatives Lou Lang of Skokie, a Democrat, and Jim Durkin of Western Springs, a Republican, will serve as prosecutors before a bipartisan "jury" of a dozen legislators. Durkin says this first hearing will be brief. He says he and Lang are waiting to see if the US Attorney's office will share information with them:
"What we have asked for we don't believe would interfere with their investigation, it's the last thing we're going to even attempt to do."
Federal prosecutors previously refused to give legislators information about their case against Smith, beyond the publicly available court documents. Durkin says he can't disclose what he and Lang asked for this time, but says some of it is different.
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