04/18/2012 10:00 PM
So apparently, State Rep. Derrick Smith isnít going anywhere until heís forced to.
An attorney for the Near West and Near North Side politician told the Chicago Sun-Times this week that Smith has no intent of resigning from his seat, despite pressure from Democratic leaders to get the heck out.
Instead, Smith is going to plead not guilty to accepting a $7,000 cash bribe.
We donít see any way out of this for Smith. It sure seems like the FBI has a whole lot of evidence against him ó including tape of him accepting the cash and counting out the bills.
It seems unlikely heíll be able to ride this out without someone kicking him out of office, whether itís because heís in jail or because his colleagues formally remove him from the Illinois House.
We hope itís soon. But we donít know that.
This is just the kind of situation that we all should have been afraid of on Election Day. In theory, a vote for Smith over his opponent Tom Swiss was a vote for a candidate solidly in the Democratic camp. A lot of folks probably hoped Smith would step down or resign after the election.
But with Smith showing no signs of leaving, weíre now stuck with an accused crook in office.
We caught a bit of flack for using strong words towards voters who backed Smith in the primary. We stand by our condemnation, though. This situation could have been avoided entirely.
In the meantime, we ask Jesse White and company to keep putting the pressure on Smith, and for the state legislature to remove their colleague as soon as possible. This cannot stand.