For the first time, the public’s getting to hear private conversations between former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, former Prince George’s County Council member Leslie Johnson, recorded by the FBI as agents arrived at their home to serve a search warrant.
Leslie Johnson was at their Mitchellville home when the FBI arrived, and she had a panicked phone conversation with her husband. He instructed his wife to get a check out of his bedroom dresser drawer.
“Get the little box, and in the box there’s a check,” Jack Johnson told his wife. “Just tear it up or chew it up, or something.”
It was a $100,000 bribe from a developer, according to court documents.
Listeners could hear Leslie Johnson fumbling through the dresser.
“Oh God, I don’t see a check,” Leslie Johnson said. “I don’t see any check, Jack, and they’re just banging and banging.”
“Let them bang, let them bang,” her husband responded.
Leslie Johnson found the check, which led to what prosecutors called destruction of evidence in their federal corruption investigation as that check was flushed down the toilet.
“Want me to flush it?” she asked her husband.
“Yeah,” he said. “Flush that.”
The sound of a toilet flushing follows.
Then they talked about cash in the house.
“What do you want me to do with this money?” she asked. “They are banging.”
“Put it in your panties and walk out of the house,” Jack Johnson instructed.
Authorities said when they searched her they found almost $80,000 in her underwear.
When she finally answered the door, she asked, “Oh my God, what’s going on?” with Jack Johnson still on the other end of the line.
“You scared me,” Leslie Johnson said as she started to cry and agents entered her home.
In other recorded conversations, Jack Johnson can be heard seeking political contributions in what prosecutors called a pay-to-play scheme with developers.
“I need you to raise $6,000 for my wife,” Jack Johnson said.
Leslie Johnson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit witness and evidence tampering, and she resigned her council seat. She is scheduled to be sentence in a few weeks, and prosecutors want her to serve to 12-to-18 months in federal prison.
Jack Johnson pleaded guilty to tampering and extortion.