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Over the past few years, we’ve seen a number of black lawmakers who’ve been singled out for sting operations by the FBI. Several state lawmakers in New York have been targeted as well as Councilmember Michael Brown in Washington D.C. On the national scene, Jesse Jackson Jr. is probably the most recent black lawmaker to be taken down by the Feds.
It is clear that these lawmakers are being targeted. What’s not clear is how many white lawmakers are being targeted or whether any of the black lawmakers are being entrapped by the FBI.
Chicago is known for its shady politicians, but a recent bribery case has many onlookers asking whether the FBI went too far in its desire to catch crooked politicians.
A jury is currently deliberating on whether Chicago Democratic State Rep. Derrick Smith broke the law when he allowed an informant, who he’d known during the campaign, to convince him to take a $7,000 bribe. At issue is how hard the informant had to push Smith before Smith finally agreed to take the bribe.
The money came in exchange for writing a letter to help a local daycare get a $50,000 grant. Smith, however, had to be convinced to take the bribe and never sought out a way to make cash on the side, which is why his attorneys say prosecutors were overzealous in their targeting of Smith.
“There was no crime here, ladies and gentlemen, and to the extent there was anything that looked like one, it was fabricated and it was a ruse,” said defense lawyer Victor Henderson.
The jury began deliberations on Monday.