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Smith: “I will not cower”

Monday, Apr 30, 2012

* As expected, Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) pled not guilty today and then read a statement to reporters

Smith, under pressure to resign his position, accused the FBI of engaging in “shenanigans” during the investigation and said agents pressured people to “say bad things about me.”

“I will not cower,” he said as his family stood behind him in the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse lobby after entering his not-guilty plea. “I intend to stand tall.

Smith also suggested he will remain in office while he fights the charges.

“The people in my district elected me on March 20, 2012, even after the government charged me with wrongdoing,” he said. “And that’s because they believed in me.”

Smith has never been elected to his office. He was appointed, then won the Democratic nomination against a white Republican. He’s starting to sound like Rod.

Also, regardless of whether people were pressured to “say bad things” about him or not, the guy is on tape taking $7,000 in cash. I don’t know how you “stand tall” after you do something like that.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


27 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:38 pm:

    “The people in my district elected me on March 20, 2012,…”

    They nominated you … not elected you …

    I hate when appointed officals get the election “thing” wrong …

    Dear, the Honorable Derrick Smith,

    I understand your plight completely and, I too, would not cower to the US Attorney. They don’t know the “real” you, and when they feel that fury, they will be the ones cowering.

    Your Pal,

    the Honorable Rod Blagojevich
    Governor in Exile


  2. - Responsa - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    ==He’s starting to sound like Rod==

    LOL, Rich. Rod, with his defiant and twisting of the facts approach, is not exactly the role model most pols in trouble with the Feds (and recorded asking for money) would choose.


  3. - I'M ON MY LUNCH BREAK! - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:45 pm:

    Whether or not he was entrapped, Smith needs to be removed from office. Entrappment means that law enforcement officials tempted you into doing something you wouldn’t ordinarily have done. That is a perfectly valid defense to the criminal charges, and if the court finds that’s what happened the charges should be thrown out. However, our elected officials must be above that type of temptation. It’s not enough to say “I won’t accept a bribe. . . unless someone offers me a lot of money in which case I might be tempted into taking it.” The very fact that he is capable of being entrapped to accept a bribe demonstrates that he is unfit to hold elective office.


  4. - Wensicia - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 12:58 pm:

    Should we call this new practice of publicly going on offense after federal indictment ‘the Rod Blagojevich defense’, or something to that effect?


  5. - DOWNSTATE DEM - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:02 pm:

    Is there no honor among thieves these days?


  6. - titan - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:04 pm:

    So…who’s the “Independent” or “New Party” candidate the old party will run against him?


  7. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:05 pm:

    I posted this a minute ago on the earlier thread:

    SMITH: I can’t guarantee that she gonna get [the grant] (UI).

    CS-1: Oh, she know that. But it’s just. . . she tryin’. She tryin’. And what she tryin’ to do is. . . a pretty good thing to me.

    That’s one exchange that I’d focus on if I was Smith’s lawyer. But I’m not a lawyer. I just think, having read the complaint, that it’s not a slam dunk case. Was it entrapment? My instinct is yes, but that is tough to prove.

    The bottom line is, one could argue that Smith was doing what many legislators have done: a favor for a constituent who might also become a political donor.

    And CS-1 had done political campaign work for Smith but didn’t get paid. Smith owed CS-1 for political work, and ended up paying him $1,000 in cash and $1,000 in a check. I would bet the check was from his political account, meaning Smith was probably guilty of being stupid and trying to hide a campaign contribution. Again, he wouldn’t be the first legislator who tried to hide a campaign donation.

    This is why we have trials: to let juries determine the facts.

    http://dig.abclocal.go.com/wls/documents/derricksmithfinalcomplaint.pdf


  8. - sal-says - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:12 pm:

    “I don’t know how you “stand tall” after you do something like that.”

    Hey, this is politics IL style, isn’t it?


  9. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:15 pm:

    Again, not being a lawyer, but couldn’t Smith’s attorneys subpeona every letter of support written by a state legislator to the Capital Development Board on behalf of applicants to CDB’s day care capital grant program?

    No wonder they want to boot Smith out of the House. His defense could be very embarrassing to other state officials who’ve done similar things but have received checks instead of cash.


  10. - dave - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:21 pm:

    His defense could be very embarrassing to other state officials who’ve done similar things but have received checks instead of cash.

    Not really… it isn’t illegal to write a support letter and receive a campaign contribution from someone. It IS illegal to explicitly write a support letter in exchange for money (whether it be cash or a check).


  11. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 1:28 pm:

    ===It IS illegal to explicitly write a support letter in exchange for money (whether it be cash or a check).===

    Yes, it is. A quid pro quo is always a no-no. But I’d prefer we let a jury decide what actually happened and how credible CS-1 is before we rush to judgement about Smith.

    And for the record, even if he gets acquitted, I think there is plenty of grounds for the House to expel him if it so chooses.

    I used to take the word of Patrick Fitzgerald as Gospel. I don’t anymore. And the anonymous informant is what really bothers me about this case.


  12. - dave - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 2:04 pm:

    **I’d prefer we let a jury decide what actually happened and how credible CS-1 is before we rush to judgement about Smith.**

    Yea… I definitely agree. My only point is that it shouldn’t and wouldn’t be embarrassing to find other legislators who have written support letters for someone they received a campaign contribution from.


  13. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 2:34 pm:

    Hmm…did Capt Fax miss adding this to his invite to the lynching….
    “Last month the government then informed the court of a 2004 drug conviction and a 1978 burglary conviction, both of which resulted in probation, he said. In addition, prosecutors said the informant had about 20 other arrests for charges ranging from burglary to weapons offenses, the lawyer said.

    Henderson said he was highly skeptical that the government could not have known the extent of the criminal history in March, especially since the informant has cooperated with the government in the past.” from the Tribbies


  14. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 2:39 pm:

    CircularFiringSquad, that was Smith’s pal. Nice friends he’s got setting up cash payments.


  15. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 2:53 pm:

    47th:

    The criminal trial has nothing to do with whether he should continue to serve or even be removed from office. The legality of what he did is irrelevant in my opinion. What he did was clearly unethical and I think the GA would be well within their rights to remove him from office.


  16. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 2:56 pm:

    I agree 100% Demoralized. But when the House acts based solely on the accusation of an anonymous informant, they are setting a dangerous precedent.

    I think when it gets time to deal-making or sentencing, then Smith will resign his seat. And I’ve said this all along, even if Smith is acquitted, the House can still expel him. One is a legal process, the other a political process.

    But think of the future witch hunts if the House acts quickly and the legal case unravels.


  17. - Sammy E. - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 3:02 pm:

    Following up on CircularFiringSquad post above:

    The G didn’t fully inform the judge about the informant’s criminal background before the wire was approved…is that grounds for the defense to have the recording tossed out, or is it just a minor slip up by the feds??? Without the overhears, there is no case.

    Still, doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be expelled from the House.


  18. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 3:30 pm:

    47th:

    I don’t think there are any dangers here. He is on tape for crying out loud. He had the cash also. Like I said, legal or not it’s disgusting and I have no problem if they simply voted right now to remove him.


  19. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 3:40 pm:

    Smith’s pal and a paid government snitch with 3 years senority.


  20. - HRT - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 3:45 pm:

    The CDB has been silent on making these grant awards. Any way this factors in to the delay?


  21. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 3:49 pm:

    ===legal or not it’s disgusting ===

    Fully agreed.


  22. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:31 pm:

    I fully agree as well, Rich, but if we expelled every legislator who did something that was morally repugnant to the general public, the House and Senate chambers would be echo chambers.

    Without casting aspersions on anyone, how does the alleged case against Smith stack up against the perfectly legal case of a legislator who is the chief sponsor of major legislation on behalf of a major corporation and then turns around, resigns, and gets paid to be their registered lobbyist after the measure becomes law?

    @Demoralized - Yes, he is on tape. Go back and read the indictment, and tell me exactly what he is on tape doing.


  23. - Rich Miller - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:35 pm:

    ===if we expelled every legislator who did something that was morally repugnant to the general public===

    Oh, please. Your endless excuses for this guy have truly become tiresome.

    He’s on tape taking the cash.

    End of story.


  24. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:52 pm:

    YDD:

    I’m not even going to dignify that with a response.


  25. - 47th Ward - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 4:54 pm:

    Demoralized, did you read the criminal complaint? I’ve read it several times and it’s very hard to understand the transcripts. I don’t YDD was being snarky toward you, I think it was a legitimate question.


  26. - StreetervilleSnookie - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 6:28 pm:

    If every Illinoisan can’t stand up, condemn Smith and demand his expulsion then we truly DO have the government we deserve here in IL.


  27. - Demoralized - Monday, Apr 30, 12 @ 6:39 pm:

    47th:

    Yes, I did. And I understood YDD believed it to be a legitimate question. I disagree. I think it’s nonsense.


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