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Jack Johnson sentenced to 7 years


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Photo by Jim Davis. Former county executive Jack B. Johnson leaves U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Tuesday after receiving a seven-plus year sentence.

Photo by Jim Davis. Former county executive Jack B. Johnson leaves U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Tuesday after receiving a seven-plus year sentence.

Published on: Thursday, December 08, 2011

By Jim Davis

Former county executive Jack B. Johnson was sentenced to seven years in prison Tuesday at the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. Johnson pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and extortion earlier this year.

“You were not elected to line your pockets, and for that you will go to jail,” said Judge Peter J. Messitte.

Johnson was to serve 133 months — more than 11 years — but according to U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, Johnson’s sentence was reduced after cooperating with the prosecution. Johnson was also fined $100,000. He must surrender to authorities by January.

“Jack Johnson could have been a role model for integrity, but he chose to be a poster child for greed,” Rosenstein said. “The facts of this case read like a dime novel because the defendant acted as if corruption was the normal way of doing business. It is our responsibility to prove him wrong.”

Less than one month before his term ended as Prince George’s County executive, Johnson was arrested by federal agents along with his wife, Leslie Johnson, at their Mitchellville home. During the time of the arrest, Leslie Johnson flushed a $100,000 check down the toilet and stuffed $79,600 in her bra and underwear as federal agents knocked at her door.

“Electing and appointing men and women of good character is important,” Rosenstein said. “But the key to honest government is to create a culture of integrity by establishing checks and balances that promote accountability. People who seek government benefits or approvals deserve to be evaluated on the merits, without being extorted or losing out to competitors who pay bribes.”

Leslie Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.

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