Ex-Prince George’s County Executive Admits To Extortion & Tampering; Says He’s Sorry

GREENBELT, Md. (AP/WJZ) — Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson, accused in a widespread probe into pay-to-play business dealings, pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal charges of extortion and witness and evidence tampering.

Andrea Fujii reports the plea comes six months after Johnson was overheard in a telephone conversation recorded by the FBI directing his wife to flush down the toilet a $100,000 check from a developer and to conceal nearly $80,000 in cash in her underwear.

Johnson, a Democrat who led the county of more than 860,000 people from 2002 to 2010, was arrested with less than a month left in his term.

“The public has the right to know that those who work for them are doing so honestly.  The victims in these crimes today are the taxpaying public,” said Rebecca Sparkman, IRS.

Johnson was indicted in February on charges that he accepted more than $200,000 in campaign contributions and other gifts in exchange for helping developers secure millions of dollars in federal grant money. Johnson and his lawyer, Billy Martin, had initially vowed to fight the accusations.

A judge had a question for Johnson Tuesday:

“Are you pleading guilty because you are and for no other reason?”

Johnson answered, “Yes, your honor.”

Johnson could have faced decades in prison if convicted at trial of all charges — extortion, bribery, conspiracy and witness and evidence tampering.  The range of his sentencing now could be 11-13 years.

He apologized Tuesday.

“I made a mistake,” Johnson said. “I’m sorry to the people of Prince George’s County and I accept responsibility.”

U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein called the case “a milestone case that exposed corruption.”   He says “the key to honest government is to maintain a culture of integrity.” 

Leslie Johnson was elected to the County Council shortly before her arrest and was sworn in despite calls from several council members that she step aside. She was scheduled to enter a guilty plea earlier this month, but the hearing was abruptly canceled. Any felony conviction would force her to give up her office. It was not immediately clear what effect, if any, a resolution to Jack Johnson’s case would have on his wife’s case or her political career.

“This has been a very, very trying time for my family and I,” Johnson said.  “We all sin and fall short of the glory of the Lord.”

After Johnson entered his plea, prosecutors unsealed three related plea agreements, some of which shed new light on Johnson’s case.

Mirza Hussain Baig, a Laurel physician and real estate developer, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to commit extortion. Baig, previously identified in Johnson court documents as “Developer A,” was the source of the $15,000 cash payment and the $100,000 check, among numerous other payments and favors.

James B. Johnson, the county’s former director of housing and community development who is not related to Jack Johnson, pleaded guilty in January to extortion conspiracy. Jack and James Johnson conspired to secure millions of dollars in federal grant money for developers who paid them bribes, according to their pleas.

The probe also snared developer Patrick Ricker of Bowie, who pleaded guilty in December 2009 to conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission, and to tax evasion. Ricker is the developer of a major mixed-use project in Greenbelt.

According to his guilty plea, Ricker and unnamed co-conspirators showered public officials with gifts including cash, travel, rounds of golf and sexual services in exchange for actions favorable to their projects. Ricker also admitted that he used straw donors to make illegal campaign contributions.

Prosecutors allege that Johnson received between $400,000 and $1 million worth of illegal cash and goods during his time as county executive, while the defense claims that the total value of the illegal payments to Johnson was between $200,000 and $400,000.

The indictment includes a detailed transcript of the telephone conversation between Jack and Leslie Johnson on the day of their arrests. As FBI agents knocked repeatedly on the door of the couple’s Mitchellville home, Jack Johnson instructed his wife to destroy the check and hide large sums of cash in her bra and underpants, and Leslie Johnson repeatedly exclaimed, “Oh my God,” according to the indictment.

Jack Johnson is free until sentencing on Sept. 15.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. sarita miles says:

    all i say on this matter is greed and shame on them both

    1. chuck says:

      put ’em both next to Mr and Mrs. Bromwell for 20 years.

    2. joan says:

      do you really think james and leslie johnson is really sorry for what they did.
      get the h….l out of here with that lie.

      that is a lie. James and Leslie are both well educated people, they like what they seen the white boys do. so the uncle toms though they could do it too. until their master had the f b i knocking on their front door. funny, they reacted just like they were in cotton coming to Halem. they played the plantation game only to become the busted slave. now both n,,,,,,,,r going to jail in the big federal master house. blacks like that i do not feel sorry for. so what they got caught.

      most black people that have good breaks in life, for get where they came from. they make me vomit at the bull of all this disgraceful mess.

      my question, when are the jack tail blacks going to learn that they will never be able to do what they know the white boys are doing and have been doing all along,

      the only thing that is hurting James and Leslie is their fallen ego’s. that’s it.
      knowing them they have dash some money in s secret place until they get out of jail.how are either one of them crying I’m so…..sorry ( which they both are sorry examples for no one to follow ! ) they both knew they were wrong from the start of the game.

  2. SILLYMAN MICHAELS says:

    PUT THIS GREEDY CORRUPT POLITICIAN IN JAIL WITH HIS WIFE AND THEN
    THROW AWAY THE KEY

  3. JOJO DANCER says:

    sillyman michaels you mommy name you right, or may be it should have been sillya$$.

  4. Billy says:

    He’s sorry his sorry a s s got caught that’s all

  5. JackDaniels says:

    HE WAS SET-UP JUST LIKE MARION BARRY……………….THIS IS JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE WHITE POWER STRUCTURE TRYING TO KEEP THE FIELD-HANDS IN CHECK!!!!!!

    1. JohnnyWalkerBlue says:

      Someone forgot what decade it was apparently…and who was elected president…and how liberal the state of MD is…maybe you’ve been hitting your liquor a bit too hard

      1. JackDaniels says:

        THAT’S EXACTLY WHY THE STATE AND THE COUNTRY ARE GOING DOWN THE TOILET!!!!!!!!

    2. 1uniquemonique says:

      BS!!!!

    3. sheriff says:

      Jack D. Up your niggy giggy. P.G.County is Coon paradise. Nah, he f….k’d up.

      1. real polixe says:

        You’re not really a sheriff, you just blow them on TV.

  6. overregulated says:

    Culture of Integrity? In Maryland? With Democrats?

    FAT CHANCE!!!

    Maryland is a pay to play state, Johnson just happened to get caught.

    The apt name is Culture of Corruption, and Maryland voters are perfectly fine with that culture, after all, O’Malley got elected twice.

    1. U. Stink says:

      Yeah, you never see Republicans do anything corrupt, especially take money from businesses in exchange for favors. Turn off Fox “news” and get your head out of your @$$!

      1. overregulated says:

        Lets see here…this is a WJZ story, not FOX (where is your head?). I take it you don’t like FOX because they have a “slant”. Do you feel that way about news organizations that are slanted to the left? I did not see this story on FOX news, but then again I don’t watch that very often, but thanks for the ASSumption.

        “you never see Republicans do anything corrupt, especially take money from business in exchange for favors” Is that your way of excusing Johnson (and his cohorts), oh I forgot, he said he was sorry, so you instantly forgave him. He said he was sorry, jeez!

        If you want to see some slant, check out Denise Koch interviewing Pelosi. Or how about Vic Carter with O’Malley? No slant there, I suppose.

        Typical liberal head in your rear end response…if you disagree with Democrats, or simply dislike them, you must watch FOX news. I’ll give you a hint…living in Maryland, solidly democratic for decades, has taught me all I need to know about Democrats and corruption.

  7. Clarkdark says:

    Leslie Johnson, where are you now? And Jacko, are you going to turn federal evidence and help indict others in your “culture of corruption”? If the feds don’t press this into the all the PG administrations, from Curry through Baker, then who’s to say this culture is eradicated?

    1. overregulated says:

      Unfortunatley, the Culture of Corruption is alive, well, and deep rooted in Maryland politics. O’Malley is puncture proof, considering who his father-in-law is, so he has some teflon to fall back on. I so hoped O’Malley would have been tied to the Shiela Dixon fiasco.

  8. SILLYMAN MICHAELS says:

    ANOTHER CORRUPT A””’HOLE FROM PG COUNTY..ISN’T ALWAYS FUNNY
    WHEN THESE CRIMINALS GET CAUGHT WITH THEIR PANTS DOWN THEY
    ALWAYS APOLOGIZE WE ALL KNOW IF THEY WOULD NEVER HAVE GOTTEN
    CAUGHT YOU REALLY THINK THEY WOULD REALLY CARE AND WANT YOU
    TO FEEL SORRY FOR THEM …
    HANG UM ALL FROM THE HIGHEST TREE IN PGC

  9. SILLYMAN MICHAELS says:

    HEY JO JO DANCER…THATS THE ONLY NAME YOUR MAMMIE AND PAPPIE
    NAMED YOU…U APPARENTLY A A888888HOLE..YOU PROBABLY HAVE A
    RAP SHEET AS LONG AS PGC

  10. james says:

    He will get less than 5 years and fine , he will not turn states evidence because too many will get caught and eventually will lead to people that will cause embarassment . That is the payoff

  11. JOJO DANCER says:

    Did I hurt your little feeling sillyman?

  12. Bud says:

    He made “a” mistake he says. Sounds like years of corruption, not a one time slip up. He’s only sorry because he got caught. He would still be doing it otherwise.

  13. SILLYMAN MICHAELS says:

    HE’S ABOUT AS SORRY AS HE IS BLACK

  14. Doug says:

    Mr.Johnson should be tried for treason
    and executed,along with his wife,
    for raping democracy.
    Hang them both ,tonight,if not sooner.

  15. State Employee says:

    Sillyman and sherriff you animals need a life, grow up this is 2011. Black is back

    1. sheriff says:

      State Employee, Show me a country that is Black, has a good economy, health & educational system with low crime. There simply isn’t one to my knowledge, can you point one out? In short, all I’m saying is if Black is back, then this world, forget the country is doomed. TO think If I were a black kid growing up that my only options were a basketball player, football or a Rapper, No wonder I would be a anti intellectual Ebonic speaking low achieving yard ape.

      1. JOJO DANCER says:

        sheriff you a backwoods hick, let see only basketball, football and rapping.

        President of United States.
        First Lady.
        Sectartary of States.
        Attorney General.
        Congressional representative and Congress Woman.
        Head of RNC.
        Lawyers.
        Professors.
        Mayors.
        Doctors.
        Govenor.
        Accomplish Musicians.
        Pro Golf.
        Pro Tennis.
        Bishops.
        NASCAR.
        Rodeo.
        Media Personnel.
        Talk Show Host.
        Game Show Host.
        Businessmen and Women.
        Educators.

        Just to name a few professions that black people have and are excelling in so you see sheriff, you are a racist pig and no use to the human race.

      2. sheriff says:

        JoJo Dancer, OBama is not 100% black & his old lady comes with the deal ok? As for A.G. Holder, that sorry ass uncle tom is worthless. As for the rest & it only fill a half page, I suggest you concentrate on your spelling grammar Bro cause you reek.
        P.S. I said country dude, not people only.

  16. chalkie says:

    Watch he will get the Steala Dixon sentence, and be able to run for office in 3 years after probation is over. It should be a law that if you are holding political office and get caught doing a crime, that your sentence should automatically be doubled. We are supposse to be able to trust our elected officals, and this type of sentencing would make them think twice before they did anything. And they should also be made to forfiet every dollar they made in office and any illegals gains back to the government. But then again congress takes care of thier own and steals from us everyday. And then the president is stealing from the tax payers also taking a trip to Ireland on tax payer money to see where his great great great great great grandfather place of birth. And he is a man saying we need to cut this and that to start to make our deficit disappear, and he turns around and does a trip like this. Our state and country are in trouble, we have people voting on basis of certain party lines only or on just the color of a person running. And this is how we keep getting this type garbage in office.

    1. JOJO DANCER says:

      chalkie I put you same catergory as sheriff and sillyman, uneducated REDNECKS.

      1. GW says:

        Jojo, you one dumb n*gger!!!!!!!!

  17. Sheriff says:

    I hope Johnson enjoys getting another Johnson rammed up his Black hiney in the joint. LMFAO

  18. Doug says:

    Chinese Justice for Mr Johnson.
    Tonight,the firing squad.
    and the wife too.
    Until we punish the corrupt,this once great nation will continue to slide off a cliff.
    The punishment for raping democracy,
    death,nothing less.

  19. Sheriff's brother says:

    Don’t mind my brother sheriff. He’s mad because our tractor has a flat and he can’t take his favorite sheep Dollie to the prom.

    1. sheriff says:

      Sheriff’s brother, Very funny.

  20. This Just In says:

    BREAKING NEWS……..A man, identifying himself as “sheriff” has been arrested after Maryland State Police found him in a chicken coop on the Perdue Farm fondling a rooster. Story at 11.

    1. sheriff says:

      I was looking for some breast’s & thighs.

  21. Beam me up says:

    Seen any straight black politicians lately?

  22. JET says:

    Maybe they can get a job at the Rosedale McDonald’s later on ?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Baltimore

Track Weather On The Go With Our App!
Your Podcast Network Play.it

Listen Live