West Side Democrat Derrick Smith is a state rep no more. Smith automatically lost his seat today and is facing prison time after being found guilty of bribery and attempted extortion.
“I believe in God. And I believe it’s God’s will. And I’m going follow his lead,” Smith said and accepted his fate handed to him by a federal jury after just four hours of deliberations between yesterday afternoon and this morning.
Smith was accused of accepting a bribe. An FBI informant and Smith campaign worker known only as “Pete,” who never testified, offered $7,000 dollars in bribe money in return for Smith’s letter of support for a $50,000 dollar state grant. It was a ruse concocted the FBI.
On tapes played in court, Smith can also be heard insisting the bribe be paid in cash.
For the jury, it was enough, despite defense efforts to paint the informant as sleazy and the freshman lawmaker as a naïve political appointee.
He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison on the bribery charge, and maximum of 20 years on the extortion charge.