State Rep Derrick Smith declares he's innocent at Illinois House hearing

May 10, 2012 (SPRINGFIELD, Ill.)

This is the first time Smith has appeared before the committee of his peers.

In federal court on Monday Smith pleaded not guilty to charges that he accepted a bribe in exchange for using his influence to obtain a state grant for a daycare center.

Thursday morning, through his attorney, Smith told the House panel that he would not testify about the matter. But he did read a prepared statement, saying he is innocent, and he has no plans to leave office.

"I intend to fight this charge and clear my name with the support of many people in the district, and family and friends," Smith said. "I will continue to represent the interest of the people in the district. They elected me despite the fact that the government had levied a charge against me just a week before the primary."

ABC 7 political reporter Charles Thomas is in Springfield and will report on the hearing beginning on ABC 7 News this afternoon at 4 p.m.

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