- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - A Michigan state senator was arraigned on felonious assault and firearms charges Tuesday, accused of shooting at his ex-wife’s car during a dispute at his Detroit home.

Virgil Smith, a Democrat who has served in the Legislature since 2003, stood mute via video before 36th District Court Magistrate Millicent Sherman, who entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

Smith, 35, the son of longtime state lawmaker and Wayne County judge Virgil Smith Jr., also is charged with domestic violence assault and battery and malicious destruction of personal property.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Smith’s 35-year-old ex-wife arrived at his home in northeast Detroit about 1 a.m. Sunday and found another woman there. At some point, multiple shots were fired at the ex-wife’s car. No one was inside the car and no one was injured.

“The alleged actions of Sen. Smith cannot and will not be tolerated,” Worthy said.

Police initially submitted a warrant request for Smith on Monday, but Worthy asked that further investigation be done. The paperwork was resubmitted Tuesday.

“We let the facts and evidence guide our charging decision and nothing else,” Worthy said.

Smith’s attorney, Godfrey Dillard, declined to speak with reporters after the arraignment, but during proceedings he asked for a personal bond or low bond to have his client released from Detroit police custody.

Smith “voluntarily appeared at the police office to be interviewed and he has been cooperative with police,” Dillard told Sherman. “We certainly have a situation here where the complainant is obviously the aggressor … forced her way into his home, attacked the defendant and the other person who was in the house.”

Sherman set Smith’s bond at 10 percent of $25,000. His next court date was set for May 22. A preliminary examination was set for May 29.

Smith, who had been assistant Democratic whip in the state Senate, has been removed from his committees and been relieved of his caucus responsibilities, effective immediately, said Democratic Minority Leader Jim Ananich.

“We are responsible for ensuring the people of Michigan and the people of the 4th Senate District are represented by a senator who can serve them effectively,” Ananich said Tuesday.

Republican Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof’s spokeswoman Amber McCann said Smith should give “serious consideration” to whether or not he can still serve his constituents.

The Michigan Constitution prohibits lawmakers from serving if they are convicted of a felony “involving a breach of public trust.”


Associated Press writer David Eggert in Lansing contributed to this report.

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