CHICAGO

Derrick Smith Entrapment? Illinois Representative Accused Of Bribery Pleads Not Guilty

04/30/2012 02:13 pm ET | Updated Apr 30, 2012

Updated story

Derrick Smith, the Illinois state representative indicted last month on a federal corruption charge, will plead not guilty at his arraignment Monday.

Smith's attorney, Vic Henderson, has suggested that the recently-reelected state Representative was been entrapped by federal officials.

Smith was arrested March 13 for allegedly accepting a $7,000 cash bribe from a fictional daycare center in return for writing an official letter of support for its bid for a $50,000 state grant. According to the criminal complaint, the informant working with the FBI delivered an envelope filled with the cash to Smith, which he accepted.

A week after he was indicted by a grand jury on bribery charges, Smith won the Democratic primary, defeating former Cook County Republican party chairman Tom Swiss who challenged him for the seat to which he was appointed last year.

Prior to his arraignment Monday, Smith had been absent from proceedings related to his corruption charges, and equally silent on the parallel investigation launched by a Special House Committee, which cited the investigation against former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich as precedent for their requests that the feds surrender findings from their investigation.

The committee is evaluating whether Smith should be removed from office, and will ask him to testify under oath as soon as this week, Chairwoman Elaine Nekritz told the Chicago Tribune.

If convicted, Smith could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to NBC. The indictment asks the lawmaker to return $4,5000 in unrecovered proceeds of the alleged bribe payout.

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