Former P.G. County Executive Jack Johnson pleads not guilty to corruption charges
Updated: March 15, 2011 - 07:50 pm
Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson pleaded not guilty to federal bribery charges stemming from the alleged pay-to-play scandal that rocked the final days of his administration.
Johnson pleaded not guilty to eight charges related to taking bribes from developers and businessmen during his eight years in office.
Johnson, dressed in a blue pinstripe suit, said he would vigorously fight the charges against him.
“My reputation is at stake. Everything is at stake,” he said. "I don't even recognize the person that's being charged in these indictments."
Johnsons’ defense attorney Billy Martin vowed to attack the FBI evidence, noting the federal government’s 5 - 6 year "head start...This is the day that we begin to fight these charges."
No date was set for Johnson's trial. He remains free until then. As he climbed into a black Lincoln Navigator outside U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, TBD.com’s Bruce DePuyt asked whether a prolonged court fight would prolong the cloud over his wife, county councilwoman Leslie Johnson. He didn’t reply.
A 31-page indictment alleges that Johnson traded business permits, millions in grant funding and other favors for airline tickets, rounds of golf and about $200,000 in cash.
Leslie Johnson is listed as a co-conspirator in the indictment, but has not been formally charged yet. The FBI says she tampered with evidence by plotting with her husband to hide cash in her bra and flush a check down a toilet.
Leslie Johnson's preliminary hearing and possible indictment is scheduled to take place in April.
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