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Ex-state Sen. Virgil Smith reaches plea deal in 2015 case

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Former state Sen. Virgil Smith Jr. has reached a plea deal with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office in connection with a 2015 case in which he was accused of shooting at his ex-wife's car.

Smith said Tuesday felony assault and domestic violence charges against him will be dropped as part of the plea deal, to be read at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Wayne County Circuit Court before Judge Lawrence Talon. 

Former state Sen. Virgil Smith Jr.

Assistant Wayne County prosecutor Lisa Lindsey signed an affidavit detailing the plea deal Aug. 29, and Smith signed it Tuesday.

Maria Miller, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, confirmed a pretrial hearing is scheduled Wednesday but declined to comment further.

"I'm innocent of the assaultive charges," he said. "That's been my main focus since Day One."

Charges of malicious destruction of property less than $20,000, an original offense, and reckless discharge of a firearm will be filed instead. Smith remains on probation until March, which will end a five-year probationary sentence for him. He also served nearly nine months in the Wayne County Jail on the original charges from March 28, 2016-Dec. 4, 2016.

Smith, 40, said he plans to resume his political career.

"I believe I have one more race in me," said Smith who said he is term-limited out of the Michigan House and Senate. Smith, who is a registered lobbyist, said he is interesting in running for the Detroit City Council, to which he unsuccessfully sought election three years ago.

"It's all about being committed to public service, which I've been trained to do and raised on," he said.

Smith said his focus is looking for ways to get illegal guns off the streets and prevent the violence that has plagued Detroit.

He said he is a changed man and is looking forward to a bright future, having gone through Alcoholics Anonymous.

"I haven't had a drink in over five years," he told The News. "(The plea agreement) finally allows me to openly talk about what I learned (from his ordeal) and to try to be a better man my mother wants me to be and that God intended me to be."

Smith was charged and initially entered into an earlier plea agreement in the case. Smith was to be prohibited from holding elective office during his five years of probation.

The plea deal was scrapped after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the plea deal he reached with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office violated public policy by prohibiting Smith from seeking election to any office during a five-year probationary period.

Efforts to reach Smith's ex-wife, Anistia Thomas, who ran in the August Democratic primary for state House District 7, were unsuccessful.