In the midst of a contested 2012 primary election, State Rep. Derrick Smith was talking to a trusted campaign worker when he allegedly asked about a $7,000 bribe he expected to get from a daycare operator who needed a letter of support for a state grant.
“We got to find out how she gonna get the cheddar to us,” Smith allegedly said to the worker, who was secretly recording the conversation for the FBI. “…I don’t want no trace of it.”
The transcript of that recorded conversation was displayed today for jurors at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse as opening statements got underway in Smith’s trial on bribery and extortion charges. Prosecutors alleged Smith pocketed what he thought was a bribe in return for writing a letter supporting the day care operator's bid for a $50,000 state grant, a bid that turned out to be a law enforcement ruse.
Smith allegedly confessed to FBI agents after his 2012 arrest, even agreeing to take agents to his home and retrieve $2,500 in cash of the bribe money from a cedar chest under his bed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Donovan said in his opening statement.
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