D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's attorney told NBC4 Monday that he "hopes" Gray would not be indicted in the shadow campaign probe. But attorney Robert Bennett said that "if he does get indicted, he will go to trial and not make a plea."
They were the strongest comments yet from the veteran defense attorney who says he is upset that U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen unfairly gave a press conference on the long-running case just weeks before the April 1 primary. Early voting started Monday.
Bennett's comments come a week from the day that D.C. businessman Jeffrey Thompson pleaded guilty in federal court on charges that he financed a $668,800 off-the-books, shadow campaign to help elect Gray in 2010. Several others have pleaded guilty in the conspiracy, but Gray had said he had nothing to do with the scheme.
Bennett, who consistently has cautioned Mayor Gray to refrain from discussing the scandal, said of Machen, "it may be that he wants to influence the election. If he believes the mayor is guilty, he doesn't want the mayor to win the election."
Bennett, speaking to NBC4 by phone, said that Gray has not submitted to interviews with prosecutors because, "They're out to get the mayor. If he goes there and says something they don't like, they can charge him with a false statement."