Anistia Thomas, the ex-wife of state Sen. Virgil Smith (D-Detroit), spoke out Friday against the embattled legislator, who's accused of shooting at Thomas' vehicle 10 times with a rifle last month.
"Good afternoon, I am Anistia Thomas, and I am a survivor of domestic violence," she said during a brief press conference after Smith left a hearing in court. "I was assaulted by my ex-husband and former partner Virgil Smith."
She added, "The violence that Virgil Smith committed against me is more significant than the potential loss of one Senate seat."
The Wayne County Prosecutor's office said Smith's preliminary examination Friday was delayed until June 25 at the request of his attorney, who wants to obtain a medical evaluation in the case. Smith has been charged with felonious assault, malicious destruction of personal property $20,000 or more, domestic violence assault, and battery and felony firearm.
The incident on May 10 began around 1 a.m., when Thomas came to Smith's home on Detroit's north side and discovered another woman inside, police have said. Smith then allegedly assaulted Thomas and, when she left, proceeded to shoot at her 2015 Mercedes up to 10 times, according to law enforcement officials. The legislator's account differs, dramatically; Smith told police the altercation only escalated after Thomas attempted to attack the other woman.
Nevertheless, Smith told officers the alleged shooting was one of the dumbest things he's ever done in his life.
Announcing the charges last month against Smith, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement, "The alleged actions of Senator Smith cannot and will not be tolerated. We asked for further work on the warrant and the information was received this morning. We let the facts and evidence guide our charging decision and nothing else."
The Detroit native has yet to step down from his position representing Senate District 4, which includes parts of Detroit, Lincoln Park, and Allen Park. And his colleagues in Lansing have a mixed opinion, with some calling for his resignation, while the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus issued a statement calling for patience, saying, "Like any other individual, Senator Smith remains innocent until proven guilty. While some are calling for his resignation, it is the opinion of this body that any punitive action taken at this time would be premature."
Smith received a $25,000 bond and has since been released after he posted the required 10 percent.
Thomas, who didn't answer questions from reporters on the advice of her attorney, used the press conference to speak out against domestic violence. She advocated for more victims to come forward.
"A partner's behavior is not something you can control no matter how well-educated, financially secure, and successful you are," she said. Thomas serves as the president of the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce and runs an insurance agency.
In her closing remarks, Thomas expressed confidence in Prosecutor Worthy's office to handle the case "properly."
"Justice will be served," she said.
A message was left for Smith's attorney, Godfrey Dillard, seeking comment.