Reporting Mike Hellgren
UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WJZ)– Headed to prison. The wife of a former county executive will spend more than a year in jail for her role in trying to cover up her husband’s corruption.
As Mike Hellgren reports, she claimed she knew nothing of her husband’s corruption.
The judge said Leslie Johnson knew this was tainted money. Now, she’s going to prison.
She rushed into court and left with a one-year, one-day prison sentence all for hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars her husband, former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson, extorted from developers.
He is seen taking a bribe on camera.
The case against Leslie Johnson was largely based on a wiretap made as the FBI was raided her home.
“What do you want me to do with this money? They are banging. What do you want me to do?” Leslie Johnson is heard saying on the wiretap.
“Put it in your panties and walk out of the house,” Jack Johnson suggests.
Leslie Johnson told the judge: “I am extremely sorry and ashamed of my conduct. I take full responsibility for my actions on that day. I did not know anything about the criminal conduct my husband engaged in.”
U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte did not buy that, saying: “You are not an innocent spouse, you are a complicit spouse. You helped him conceal it. You knew what he was doing.” Destroy a $100,000 check and hide all that money in her underwear if she didn’t think something was wrong with it.”
“I felt as though she should not have received any jail time,” Abigail Parker, Leslie Johnson’s friend and supporter, said. “They have lost so much.”
“One day at a time, it will be over, and we’ll all be better for it,” Leslie Johnson’s supporter, Mary Ann White, said.
She stayed on the County Council after pleading guilty. Prosecutors say she only ran for office to continue her husband’s “culture of corruption” and that he funded her campaign with his dirty money.
“In government, there are many, many opportunities for corruption if the wrong people wind up in positions where they’re able to exercise discretion,” U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said.
The judge also ordered she perform 240 hours of hands-on community service once she gets out.
Leslie Johnson must report to prison in March. She asked that she serve her sentence at Alderson, W. Va. Her husband will serve his seven-year, three-month sentence at the Butler Prison Complex in North Carolina.