Rep. Derrick Smith is heading back to Springfield after being re-elected on Tuesday. (ilga.gov)
By Nick Gale
CHICAGO - A former state lawmaker who was elected to a new term despite having been expelled from the Illinois House over bribery allegations says he’s determined to work closely again with his legislative colleagues.
State Rep.-elect Derrick Smith of Chicago said he intends to work “hand in hand” with the lawmakers who voted him out of the House in August, as well as with Democratic Party leaders who turned against him after he was charged in a federal case.
He has pleaded not guilty to accepting a $7,000 bribe and refused to take his name off the ballot for Tuesday’s election. This is Smith’s first time being elected to the seat; he had previously been appointed to fill a vacancy.
Smith told reporters Thursday that he’s going to “let bygones be bygones” so he can focus on the needs of his constituents.
Meanwhile, his attorney Victor Henderson says he is appalled at the Democratic Party and the measures taken against his client. He vows to fight to clear Smith’s name. He says people cast their ballots for his client because they believe that one is innocent until proven guilty.