Sen. Virgil Smith expected to resign by Friday

Jonathan Oosting
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — State Sen. Virgil Smith, serving a 10-month jail sentence after shooting up his ex-wife’s car, is expected to tender his resignation by Friday, according to Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof’s office.

Smith’s attorney Godfrey Dillard called the Senate on Wednesday afternoon and announced the Detroit Democrat’s pending resignation, Meekhof spokeswoman Amber McCann told The Detroit News.

“The majority leader had always understood that Sen. Smith would voluntarily resign if he went to jail,” McCann said. “This spares the Senate from expulsion proceedings and resolves the issue for constituents of the 4th Senate District.”

Dillard could not immediately be reached for comment.

Smith, D-Detroit, went to jail on Monday after pleading guilty to malicious destruction for shooting at his ex-wife’s Mercedez Benz during a May 2015 dispute.

He earns $71,685 a year as a state senator and was not legally obligated to resign despite incarceration.

Meekhof, R-West Olive, said last week he expected Smith to step down. If it did not happen, Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint, said Friday he would vote to expel Smith from the Legislature.

“I think there is no scenario where a person serving in jail serves in the Michigan Senate,” Ananich said during a taping of WKAR-TV’s “Off The Record.”

In order to resign, Smith would have to submit a written letter of resignation to Senate Secretary Jeff Cobb. McCann said the letter would be read into the official Senate Journal when the Legislature returns to session April 12.

Smith’s original plea deal with Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy had required him to leave office, but Wayne County Judge Lawrence Talon said he would not enforce that portion.

Smith’s ex-wife, Anistia Thomas, allegedly confronted him after she went to his eastside home in the 18000 block of Wexford and found another woman, naked, in his bed. A fight ensued and continued outside the home where Smith is said to have pointed an AR-15 at her and then shot more than 20 rounds at her car.