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Former PG Co. Executive Jack Johnson Indicted

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) — Extortion, bribery and conspiracy were just some of the charges leveled against former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson in a massive pay-for-play scheme.

Mike Hellgren breaks down the charges.

There was a 31-page indictment revealing in more detail than ever before the scope of the corruption investigation in Prince George’s County that could net Jack Johnson years behind bars and more than a million dollars in fines.

A new indictment reveals the dirty details behind the corruption scandal that could put former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson, who was one of Maryland’s most powerful politicians, behind bars for more than 100 years.

“This investigation is active and ongoing.  We anticipate that there will be additional defendants and additional charges,” said Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney.

Federal prosecutors accuse Johnson of taking thousands of dollars in bribes, trips, mortgage payments in exchange for political favors, including jobs and business permits.

“We’re going to be delving much deeper into activities of these corrupt officials,” said Richard McFeely, FBI.

Some of the most damaging evidence comes from wiretaps, conversations between Johnson and his wife, Leslie, who is now on the County Council, about destroying evidence.  Transcripts reveal how the Johnsons tried to get rid of $79,000 in cash from a developer with the FBI knocking at the door to their home.

Leslie Johnson:  “What do you want me to do with this money?  They are banging.”

Jack Johnson:  “Stuff it in your panties.  Yeah, tell ‘em you were in the bathroom.”

Johnson was also caught on wiretap saying he needed to be more careful after hearing about the indictment of State Senator Ulysses Currie.

“All crime leaves traces, it leaves evidence for people who know where to look and that evidence festers,” Rosenstein said.  “It’s unfortunate that the crimes of a few taint the conduct of the many honorable men and women who work every day, faithful to their oath to provide public service.”

Johnson and his wife have long maintained their innocence.  She has no plans to step down from the County Council. 

Johnson remains out of jail, but the court has ordered he can’t complete financial transactions more than $1,000.  The next court date has not been set.

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