CHICAGO (AP) _ Chicago's city clerk resigned Monday, more than three weeks after he was charged with soliciting bribes and obstructing justice in a widespread corruption investigation.

James Laski, 52, submitted his resignation to Mayor Richard Daley in a letter, said clerk's office spokesman Gregg Cunningham.

``As I've said before, this is very unfortunate,'' Daley said in a statement. He expressed sympathy for Laski and his family.

Laski was charged Jan. 13 with soliciting thousands of dollars in payoffs in exchange for getting a trucking company operator city business and with pressuring a witness to lie to a grand jury. He was named along with four other men in an indictment about two weeks later.

Laski was the highest ranking official among more than 40 people charged in the federal investigation of corruption in Chicago government. The charges stemmed from a probe into a program designed to save taxpayer dollars by outsourcing city hauling work to private truckers.

Laski's attorney, Jeffrey Steinback, said his client resigned because he felt it was in everyone's best interest and he wants to focus on preparing for trial.

Laski was elected city clerk in 1995, two years after his predecessor pleaded guilty to mail fraud, bank fraud and tax evasion. The city clerk is elected citywide, and the office employs about 120 people.

Deputy City Clerk Edmund Kantor will act as the interim head of the office until Daley appoints a replacement, Cunningham said.