By Mike Hellgren

GREENBELT, Md. (WJZ) –Dirty money. She tried to hide thousands of dollars in bribes. But Leslie Johnson can’t escape the law. The powerful wife of a former county executive pled guilty in a sweeping federal corruption investigation.

Mike Hellgren reports that Johnson admits she made a mistake, but she refuses to step down from her elected position.

Under sentencing guidelines, Johnson will likely spend a year to a year and a half behind bars.

Johnson–known for her polished outfits and unflappable demeanor–didn’t have a hair out of place when she showed up to plead guilty to federal evidence tampering charges.

A far cry from the picture prosecutors painted of her last November when she frantically hid almost $80,000 in her bra and panties and flushed a $100,000 check down the toilet while FBI agents raided her home.

“I made a mistake, for which today I accepted responsibility for my conduct,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s husband—former Prince George’s County executive and top prosecutor Jack Johnson— already admitted his role in shaking down wealthy developers and lining his own pockets with the cash.

“Jack and Leslie Johnson are guilty of a disgraceful abuse of the trust placed in them by the citizens of Prince George’s County,” said Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney.  “The people deserve representatives of integrity and character. But unfortunately, we know from experience, they’re not always going to get that.”

Leslie Johnson was sworn in as a county Council member—after the raid—and refuses to step down.

“I look forward to continuing to serve and making a positive difference to the lives of people in need,” she said.

The feds say they can’t force her out before she heads to prison.  But they hope these prosecutions send a powerful message to the people that corruption won’t be tolerated.

“They deserve to know the decisions they make are to enrich the county as a whole, not their own pocketbooks,” said Richard McFeely, FBI.

The U.S. Attorney says this case is still open, and there could be more indictments.

Leslie Johnson will be sentenced in October. She will be out on probation until then.

While the government has agreed to a 12-18 month sentence, the maximum for her crime is 20 years in prison.

Comments (11)
  1. Sylvan Finkelstein says:


  2. rc says:

    How can she continue to serve on the city council….. Really? This city is the most corrupt in the country. So sad.

    1. Ken says:

      Not much better here in Baltimore.

  3. David Sheets says:

    Remembering both of their comments when arrested last Nov. it was all about innocence and neither of them doing anything wrong. Now the statement is that she is aware of her wrongs so a light sentence is in order: Where was her sense of ethics and morality at all the while when she, like her husband, was enjoying the thousands of dollars that was brought into their home by the illegal schemes both to a degree were involved in and aware of. How much did the money, beyond their salaries w/o question of where it came from – bought new clothes, jewelry, furniture, cars, trips, etc? And now as most White (Black) collar criminals she will likely serve but a few months in the prison. A joke and abuse of the system!

    1. Ken says:

      Greed knows no race, color, nationality or creed. And now we must include sexual preference.

  4. Debbie says:

    Refusing to step down after admitting guilt is beyond arrogant and a dis-service to those who elected her. And they wonder why people distrust the political system in Maryland

  5. Diane King says:

    She made a “mistake”?? BS!! A mistake is when you do something unintentionally, not realizing the error you are making. That does not apply here. I can’t believe they swore this woman in to the county council AFTER the raid. She’s not going to all of a sudden get some ethics and morals after proving she has neither. Clearly her interests are for herself, not PG County. She should be out on her criminal a$$.

  6. cms827 says:

    Is she related to Sheila Dixon!!!

  7. ravenmaniac881 says:

    Isn’t it special how she comes out to the podium to speak after pleading guilty only to have a handfull of here political friend close it tow to stand behind her and pose for pictures. Show just how stupid politicians really are. This is the kind of person you don’t let anywhere near you when running for political office. It’s incredible, politicians hanging out with and showing support for a dirty politician. Only in PG County. The same county that her husband Jack was first State Attorney and got elected on a platform to send dirty cops to jail only to have cops put his dirty butt in jail. Great going Mr. and Mrs. Johnson. You’re a real credit to your profession.

  8. stopstealingnow2911 says:


  9. Cathy says:

    OMG!! A mistake,taking a piece of candy without permission a mistake,80,000 dollars in bribe money that is a CRIME!!,and only maybe get 1 1/2 yrs give me a break,and still keep her job.I was fired from a job fro getting into a argument with a co-worker and the state denied me unemployment because it was called mis-conduct,,jesus I guess next time I will do something really bad,and she said she is not stepping down and is still going to make a possitive difference,how can she say this after what she did,that it is ok to cheat the goverment just admit you made a mistake,I hope the prosocuters read these ans ram it to her,

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