FBI Seeks Fingerprints, Offers Immunity in Gray Campaign Probe: Post

Mayor says he's surprised by investigation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray re-asserted his innocence today as a federal grand jury probes deeper into allegations of payoffs in his 2010 campaign for mayor.Gray's comments follow the disclosure of new details of that investigation. (Published Monday, Oct 17, 2011)

    A Vincent Gray 2010 campaign worker is cooperating in the investigation into ethics allegations made earlier this year.

    This past weekend had to be one of the best -- and worst -- Sundays in Mayor Gray’s entire life as a politician.

    Gray stood before tens of thousands gathered to celebrate the dedication of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial along the Tidal Basin.

    Given the international coverage and audience, it probably was the largest crowd ever for Gray.  He gave a stem-winder of a speech calling on President Barack Obama and Congress to grant voting rights to the District’s 600,000 citizens.

    But that same morning, The Washington Post threw a big, fat blanket over Gray’s moment on the national and international stage.

    In a story that led the front page -- and accompanied by a major time-line graphic on an inside page -- The Post reported that the FBI has sought fingerprints and given immunity as part of its probe into allegations Gray’s 2010 campaign paid off Sulaimon Brown with cash and a government job for his part in attacking then-Mayor Adrian Fenty on the campaign trail.

    Sources told News4 Monday evening that Gray campaign worker Howard Brooks is cooperating with the FBI and has worn a wire. Neither he nor his attorney could be reached for comment.

    The probe has been under way since late spring, but the new details -- scant as some thought they were -- provoked rumors that U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen is close to wrapping up his investigation.

    Actually, no one knows except Machen and his team. 

    Monday, Mayor Gray reluctantly met with News4 and other reporters to respond to The Post story.

    Gray declined to comment on the timing of the story -- again, his aides were privately furious -- but said he’s innocent and is looking forward to the U.S. Attorney completing the investigation that Gray said surprised him.

    “Look, I’m surprised that this thing happened in the first place,” he said. “The fact that we’ve had to spend months working on this, if anybody had suggested to me that this is what we would have to spend our time on, I would have said, ‘No way,’ and certainly it’s not what I wanted to do. So the surprises were right from the very beginning.”