A former Maryland delegate and county councilman says he is "embarrassed" but "owning up to his mistakes" after pleading guilty to federal bribery charges.
William Alberto Campos-Escobar, 42, apologized for his actions in a dramatic personal statement Tuesday afternoon.
"I truly apologize to all of you, my friends and supporters, and to my family," Campos said. "As embarrassing and devastating as this may be, I own up to my mistakes."
Campos accepted bribes in exchange for help with zoning rules and obtaining grant money, according to federal prosecutors.
Campos represented District 2 on the county council from 2004 until 2014. During that time, Campos and other council members were allowed to award $100,000 in grant funds to the non-profit service organization of their choice.
During one exchange, federal prosecutors say Campos and another suspect met with a cooperating witness on Dec. 9, 2012, to discuss moving the witness's business to Prince George's County. During their next meeting, the witness gave Campos an envelope with $3,000 in cash. Campos then told the witness to find a non-profit organization to share the grant with.
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From 2011 through 2014, Campos also received between $21,000 and $24,000 from two county business owners in exchange for giving $325,000 in county grant money to entities controlled by those business owners, federal prosecutors say.
Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker issued a statement Tuesday that said he was "very upset and deeply disappointed."
"When a public official raises his or her hand and pledges to uphold the Prince George’s County Charter or the Maryland Constitution, they are committing to live by a very high standard of trust and integrity," the statement read.
Baker said he would continue to work with investigators in the case.
Campos' lawyer said this was a difficult time for his client. "He has transgressed and he acknowledges his wrongdoing," read the statement from Barry Wm. Levine. "He is deeply remorseful and accepts full responsibility for his profound error. People are complex. It would be a mistake to judge him only through the acts which are the subject of his error."
Campos was elected to the General Assembly in 2014, but resigned in September 2015.
Campos said he has been under federal investigation for years, but immediately acknowledged his wrongdoing when he was first approached by the government.
As part of his plea agreement, Campos will be required pay restitution of at least $340,000.
He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 10.
"Dear friends, it is with great sadness and embarrassment that I deliver this message. I have been under Federal investigation for bribery and conspiracy and I have pleaded guilty to these charges. The investigation has been going on for years now. When I was first approached by the government, I immediately acknowledged my wrongdoing and have been trying to make amends ever since.
I truly apologize to all of you, my friends and supporters, and to my family. I admitted my transgression from day one. I have not been answering any inquiries in the last few days due to ongoing investigation. As embarrassing and devastating as this may be, I own up to my mistakes. While I have never been shy about speaking to the media, on the advice of my counsel I am constrained not to comment further. I beg for your understanding.
As strange as this may sound, I am relieved that this is finally coming to an end. This process has been torturous, and I have learned so much about life and myself. I thank God for the lesson that he has taught me and will continue to teach me. It has definitely made me into a better person and it has humbled me to a level that I needed to reach for my own personal growth. I definitely strayed and I thank God for setting me straight.
Please pray for everyone who will be directly and indirectly affected by all of this. Having gone through it myself, I know what lies ahead for many others and I will ask God to guide them through this as he has guided and blessed me.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT MY CASE, FEEL FREE TO CONTACT MY ATTORNEY BARRY WM. LEVINE AT 202-420-2200.
Once again, my sincerest apologies to all of you; I admit to my failings. I only ask for your prayers during this very difficult time. I believe ultimate justice is with divine grace."