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Ex-Prince George’s County Executive Pleads Not Guilty To Charges

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GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) — Extortion, bribery and tampering with evidence.  Powerful former politician Jack Young pleaded not guilty to all of those charges against him.

Kelly McPherson has the new developments in the Prince George’s County corruption scandal.

Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson ended his term under the shadow of an FBI raid and an eight- count federal indictment in November.

“I’m innocent of these charges,” he said.

Tuesday, he stuck to the story and entered a not guilty plea.

“You know, I don’t even recognize the person that’s being charged in these indictments,” he said.

The feds have more than a year’s worth of wiretapped conversations, but it’s the recorded call between Johnson and his wife, Leslie—a new county council member who is also indicted—that caught the most attention.  As the FBI knocked on their door, Johnson asked his wife about a $100,000 check that agents say was a bribe payment from a developer.  She says over the phone, “Do you want me to put it down the toilet?”  He says, “Yes, flush that.”  Then the affidavit says Leslie Johnson stuffed nearly $80,000 in cash into her bra.

“We know that the government has had a five or six year head start on us,” said his lawyer.  “We’re going to attack the wiretaps and all of the information.”

“I’m just flabbergasted,” Johnson said.

A Prince George’s County office, Sinisa Simic, and an accomplice are facing new charges this week.  They were already named in the corruption probe but now they face extortion charges.  They’re linked to the owners of a liquor store chain in Clarksville.  The FBI says the group transported alcohol and cigarettes from Virginia—tax-free—by paying off police officers.

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