Prosecutors say Representative Derrick Smith took a $7,000 bribe in exchange for helping a daycare get a state grant.
The Chicago Democrat is fighting the bribery charge in federal court. At the same time he's fighting a move in the legislature that could strip him of his seat, a process Smith's attorney argues is going too fast. A bipartisan House committee has set July 19th as its final hearing. In a letter to the panel, Smith's lawyer, Victor Henderson, says the defense team cannot prepare an adequate defense in 20 days. He wants AT LEAST a month's extension. Representative Jim Durkin, a Republican from Western Springs who's acting as a prosecutor in the disciplinary hearings ... says he doesn't believe the case needs to be prolonged:
"Representative Smith was arrested in March. We are now in July"
Durkin says Smith doesn't have the same due process rights in the House as he will in court. Representatives have no legal standard they must meet when deciding if Smith deserves to be punished or expelled.
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