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Rep. Smith back in court Thursday on bribery charge

State Rep. Derrick Smith leaves Federal Building after his arraignment March 13. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

State Rep. Derrick Smith leaves the Federal Building after his arraignment March 13. | TOM CRUZE~Sun-Times

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State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Ill.), accused of bribery, is due back in federal court for a hearing Thursday.

Smith, arrested March 13, is accused of taking a $7,000 bribe from an FBI informant in exchange for writing a letter of support for a purported day-care center operator seeking a $50,000 state grant.

Smith has pleaded not guilty to the federal charge and has refused calls from fellow Democrats to resign from the Illinois House.

If convicted, he could get up to 10 years in prison.

Despite his arrest, Smith won his March primary, carrying 77 percent of the vote, and remains on the November ballot.

Thursday’s hearing is before U.S. District Judge Sharon Coleman in Chicago.

Separately, the 12-member House Select Committee on Discipline is considering whether to recommend Smith’s expulsion from the Legislature. Seven of the committee’s 12 members would have to vote for sanctions against Smith for his case to move to the full House, which must approve disciplinary action by a two-thirds majority.

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