First Read
Your first stop for politics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

Kwame Brown Sentenced: "It Was Stupid. I Was Wrong."

Brown sentenced in federal court, will be sentenced in superior court later today

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown on Tuesday learned his fate for pleading guilty to a federal bank fraud charge and a misdemeanor campaign finance charge. Part of the sentence kept him in police custody for the day, but as News4's Tom Sherwood reports, Brown will spend at least two more years paying for his crimes. (Courtroom sketch by Art Lien.)

    "I am not a victim. It was stupid. I was wrong," former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown told a federal judge, choking up Tuesday as he was sentenced for a federal felony bank fraud charge.

    Brown was sentenced to one day in custody (Tuesday), plus two years of supervised release, 480 hours of community service, and a home detention curfew of 10 p.m. He will have to wear an electronic monitoring device for six months, reported News4's Tom Sherwood.

    In a second proceeding later Tuesday, Brown was sentenced to two years of probation -- to be served concurrently with the first sentence -- for a misdemeanor over a finance issue from his 2008 campaign

    In that case, Brown also received a 30-day jail sentence, suspended on the condition that he successfully completes probation.

    Brown had pleaded guilty June 8 to the bank fraud charge, a felony, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. He admitted to providing false documentation to secure two personal loans totaling more than $220,000.

    On a document that listed Brown's consulting income as $35,000, he changed the "3" to an "8," according to a press release from the office of U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.

    Brown also pleaded guilty June 8 to a campaign finance violation charge, a misdemeanor, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

    In that case, he admitted to aiding and abetting a relative who made a cash payment of $1,500 to a campaign worker for Brown's Council campaign.

    "The relative was a signatory on the campaign’s bank accounts; Brown also admitted failing to disclose the relative's identity to the District of Columbia Office of Campaign Finance," said the press release from Machen's office.

    As part of Tuesday's plea agreement, Brown agreed to agreed to cooperate as the federal investigation into his 2008 campaign finances continues. However, it's unclear whether it will lead to further charges for Brown's brother and father, whose actions are being scrutinized.

    The last couple of years haven't been Brown's finest.

    In November 2010, Brown ran for Council chairman when then-Chairman Vincent Gray ran for mayor against Adrian Fenty.

    Shortly after he was elected to the seat, Brown's staff requested a pricy Lincoln Navigator SUV and then sent it back when it didn't meet his specifications.

    The second vehicle was just what Brown wanted ("black on black"), but a scathing report released in February 2011 noted that the city was on the hook for both vehicles, at $1,769 and $1,963 a month respectively. The cost to the city totaled about $20,000.

    Soon after, Brown apologized and blamed an overly helpful city staff, and later promised to reimburse the city for a month of expenses. The first vehicle he ordered was assigned to be Mayor Gray's "backup" vehicle.

    Also in 2011, the Board of Elections and Ethics investigated Brown's 2008 campaign -- and by the summer, the agency had referred the case to federal authorities. (Around this time, Brown began to champion new ethics legislation targeting the D.C. Council.)

    Brown eventually became one of the casualties of a separate (and ongoing) federal investigation -- and this June, he took a plea deal that forced his resignation from the Council.

    The charge: He forged a loan document, overstating his income by $30,000 in order to purchase a boat.

    It was a boat Brown named "Bullet Proof."