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U.S. Attorney Discusses Jack Johnson Corruption Case

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson is just the latest powerful Maryland politician disgraced by a corruption scandal.

Mike Hellgren has the U.S. Attorney’s take on why these prosecutions are so critical.

“I’m very sorry for what happened,” Johnson said.

Their falls from grace have been stunning.  From Sheila Dixon to Thomas Bromwell and now Jack Johnson…all Maryland politicians who have lost their seats of power in disgrace.

Johnson, the former Prince George’s County Executive, appears headed to federal prison for bribery and brazen tampering with evidence.  But the U.S. Attorney who brought him down says the fight against corruption isn’t over.

“Number one, it sends a message that there are federal investigators and prosecutors who can take on the challenge of prosecuting entrenched corruption,” Rosenstein said.

The feds spent years methodically building their case against Johnson, using wiretaps to expose a pay-for-play culture of corruption in one of Maryland’s largest counties.

Legal analyst Andrew Levy explains why federal prosecutions are so hard to fight.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say the resources of the federal government are virtually limitless,” Levy said.

Cases are still pending against Johnson’s wife, who’s still serving on the county council, and another powerful lawmaker, Senator Ulysses Currie.

“Government officials are less inclined to ask for kickbacks or accept kickbacks if they know someone is paying attention and monitoring this kind of activity,” Rosenstein said.

Johnson will be sentenced Sept. 15.

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