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Harry Thomas Jr. Heads to Prison With Church Send-Off

Disgraced former D.C. councilmember scheduled to report to Alabama prison Wednesday

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Time is almost up for former D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.

He's heading off to prison on Wednesday -- a posh (well, as posh as a prison can be) federal facility in Alabama for 38 months. Thomas got some church in beforehand, with a reception and send-off of sorts at the Michigan Park Christian Church in Ward 5 on Friday evening.

Mike Debonis reports at The Washington Post:

Thomas was joined and embraced by his wife, mother, teenage son and two young daughters. He asked the crowd “to look out for my family,” and a benefit fund was announced.

He said he’d been “humbled” by his prosecution. “In this city, there are people every day that are in situations like mine that don’t have what’s in this room,” he said. “When you go down to that courthouse, you have to be humbled. . . . I understand that God has already humbled me. There’s nothing they can do to humble me.”

It sounds like Thomas is mentally preparing for the next few years of unpleasantness. The Washington Examiner's Alan Blinder talks to a politician-turned-ex-con who shared his insights:

[...] even though the complex is no Alcatraz, Jeff Smith, a former Missouri state senator who served time in federal prison, said the experience will stun Thomas.

"Going in, stripping naked, getting the full cavity search. ... It's just a huge shock to the system, especially for someone who was making the laws," Smith said. "You can't appreciate how jarring that is until you go through it."

So who showed at the Friday event? Besides his supporters, HTJ's former colleagues Yvette Alexander, Marion Barry and Michael Brown all came out.

Unsurprisingly, the rest of the D.C. Council, including his newly elected replacement, Kenyan McDuffie, stayed away.

*Correction: an earlier version of this blog post said the event happened on Sunday.

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