State Representative-elect Derrick Smith says he looks forward to returning to the state House that impeached him just a few months ago.
Smith was charged with bribery and expelled from the Illinois House. But he was re-elected Tuesday to his old seat, representing the 10th District.
Smith would not say much about the federal indictment against him when he and his attorneys met with reporters Thursday. But he plans to keep fighting. He was the first state House member to be impeached in over 100 years.
He is apparently feeling vindicated after winning re-election in the 10th District with a decisive 63 percent of the vote.
"I've been out in the community walking seven days a week, talking to the constituents of the district," Smith told reporters. "And the constituents of the district are the ones who encouraged me to stay in the race, so I was not surprised."
Smith has pleaded not guilty to federal bribery charges and the case has yet to go to trial -- exactly why his lawyers feel he deserves to serve in Springfield.
Smith's defense team is especially angered that the Democratic Party has failed to support the indicted lawmaker during the impeachment process or his campaign.
"I have been appalled by the way the Democratic Party treated Derrick Smith over the last six months, because they wanted his seat," said defense attorney Vic Henderson. "Either we believe in democracy, or we don't. Either you're innocent until proven guilty, or you're not."
Henderson claims Smith will be acquitted, but he refused to discuss the defense.
Despite the indictment and impeachment, there is nothing to prevent Smith from being sworn in to a new term. But if he is convicted, Smith would have to leave the state House again.