BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A longtime aide to former Mayor Catherine Pugh will be sentenced in federal court next week.

Prosecutors are now recommending Gary Brown Jr. be sentenced to 33 to 41 months in prison.

He has been described by federal prosecutors as Pugh’s “bagman” managing her Healthy Holly scheme that eventually sent her to prison earlier this year. 

U.S. attorneys said there would be no Healthy Holly scheme without Brown, who prosecutors said was “unquestionably her right-hand man from start to finish.”

A sentencing memo filed Friday lays out how Pugh and Brown ran an eight-year, $860,000 scam selling Pugh’s self-published children’s books, a little over half of which were ever printed.

Brown was an aide who “proved his mettle and got the dirty jobs done,” according to court documents. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax charges.

Pugh was convicted of similar charges and began a three-year prison sentence herself in June. The U.S. attorney then called the scheme a “tragedy.”

View our interactive timeline here: Healthy Holly Timeline

“These were serious offenses that occurred over years that did serious damage to the public trust,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Hur.

Pugh had pushed for Brown to fill a vacancy in the state’s House of Delegates after she was elected mayor in 2016. A reward for Brown’s “criminal allegiance,” prosecutors argue.

Instead, state prosecutors then charged Brown with violating campaign finance laws.

The appointment fell through, but Pugh paid his legal fees and kept him as a paid member of her staff. Prosecutors submitted emails, where Brown solicited payments from potential buyers, many of which had direct business with city and state government.

They said he “happily assumed the responsibility of being the scheme’s bagman,” where Brown would distribute untraceable cash to straw donors of Pugh’s campaign.

The memo suggests we’ll “never know the impact the inflated campaign finance reports had on the outcome of the close election.”

He is set to be sentenced on September 11.

CBS Baltimore Staff

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