New Illinois legislature has 3 charged lawmakers

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois' newest General Assembly is setting a recent precedent of sorts: Its ranks include three lawmakers facing criminal charges.

Indicted state Rep. Derrick Smith was among the three who took the oath of office Wednesday in Springfield. The Democrat was arrested on bribery charges and expelled last year, but voters put him back in office.

Sen. Donne Trotter faces gun charges for allegedly bringing a weapon to an airport. And Rep. La Shawn Ford is accused of federal bank fraud charges.

Illinois has a reputation for an intersection of politics and crime. Still, historians say it's been decades since so many sitting lawmakers faced charges.

The situation could be a distraction as Illinois faces historic financial problems. Some experts say the charges are so different it won't matter much.

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