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Virgil Smith allowed to withdraw guilty plea, faces trial

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
Former state Sen. Virgil Smith

Former Democratic state lawmaker Virgil Smith was allowed Monday to withdraw his  guilty plea in a case involving a confrontation with his ex-wife and instead will go to trial on the matter.

The decision by Judge Lawrence Talon of Wayne County Circuit Court reinstates felony charges of malicious destruction of property, felonious assault and felony firearm, as well as a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said.

Smith will go to trial March 4 before Talon in connection with a May 2015 dispute  in which Smith allegedly fired a gun at his ex-wife's car.

More than 20 rounds were fired into the ex-wife's  vehicle during the incident at Smith's  home in the 18000 block of Wexford.

 Anistia Thomas, Smith’s ex-wife, said she sustained more than 18 bruises, a busted lip and swollen jaw after the early morning fight when she reported going to Smith’s east-side home and finding another woman, naked, in his bed.

Smith entered a plea in the case in March 2016 and agreed not to hold elective office during his five years of probation. He also was sentenced to 10 months in the Wayne County Jail.

Charges of felonious assault, felony firearm and domestic violence against Smith were dropped and Smith resigned his state Senate seat a few weeks later.

Last year, Smith ran for Detroit City Council but was not elected, losing in the general election to political newcomer Roy McCalister.

During a hearing in March 2016, Talon denied the prosecutor’s motion to pull Smith’s plea deal off the table after Talon said he would not enforce the portion of it that would have forced the Detroit Democrat to step down from the Legislature.

The prosecutor’s office appealed Talon’s ruling.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled in July that Smith cannot be barred from running for office again.

The final conference for Smith is scheduled for Dec. 14.

If convicted on the felony charges, Smith could get up to 10 years in prison.

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