Former D.C. Councilman Michael Brown Will Plead Guilty to Bribery

Feds: Brown accused of taking $55,000 from FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking city contract

Former District Councilman Michael Brown will plead guilty to a bribery charge for accepting $55,000 from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking a D.C. minority business contract, his lawyer said Friday.

Brown was charged Friday morning with one count of bribery of a public official, a felony. News4's Tom Sherwood first reported the imminent charges Thursday night.

His court hearing is scheduled for Monday at 3:30 p.m. before federal judge Robert L. Wilkins.

The incident occurred approximately one-and-a-half years ago, while Brown was a sitting council member. At the time, he was having financial issues in connection with a strained marriage, sources told Sherwood.

His lawyer's statement said Brown "made a serious lapse in judgment at a time when he faced
severe financial difficulties."

"He has accepted full responsibility for his mistakes, cooperated with the authorities, and intends to plead guilty to the information filed today," read the statement from Brian M. Heberlig. "He has apologized to his friends and family and asks his former constituents for their forgiveness as well.”

Brown is the son of former U.S. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, a major figure in the National Democratic Party until he died in a European plane crash on a commerce mission in 1996. Michael Brown lost his seat on District council last November and abruptly pulled out of another council election in April.

In 1997, Brown pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor campaign finance violation, and could face up to 15 years in prison for the bribery charge.

Last year, police launched an investigation into more than $100,000 that went missing from his campaign. That incident remains under investigation.

Former D.C. Councilman Kwame Brown and Ward 5 member Harry Thomas Jr. both resigned from office after pleading guilty to unrelated felony counts. A federal investigation of Mayor Vincent Gray's 2010 campaign is ongoing.

D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson said all of these cases continue to undermine the public's confidence in District government.

"The public feels that City Hall has this cloud of corruption," Mendelson said. "As I’ve said, as long as we have these investigations ongoing, we will continue to have this cloud and we cannot sit back and say it over until the U.S. Attorney says it's complete."

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