An Illinois lawmaker has been convicted by a federal jury on charges that he accepted a $7,000 bribe in exchange for trying to help steer a state grant, in a plot that was actually part of an FBI sting.
The jury deliberated less than a day before returning the guilty verdicts against Democratic state representative Derrick Smith. He had been charged with taking the cash before writing a letter pushing for the grant to go to a day care center. But the request for help came from a paid FBI informant, carrying out a sting devised by the agency.
Smith could face up to 20 years in prison on the charges, although his ultimate sentence is expected to be much less. Smith will also wind up losing his House seat -- for the second time. Lawmakers voted to expel him after he was indicted on the charges, but Smith won re-election to the seat before his case went to trial.