Plea Bargain Close for Harry Thomas Jr.: Sources

Lawyers for D.C. Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas Jr. may be in the final stages of a plea bargain agreement with prosecutors.

Thomas is under investigation for allegedly misspending $300,000 in city funds on his lavish lifestyle. Federal authorities are investigating him for corruption and tax evasion.

Thomas is weighing a move to resign from the council, plead guilty and serve some prison time, sources said. No agreement has been reached.

At a memorial service for prominent lawyer Vinnie Cohen Sr., U.S. Attorney for the District Ronald Machen declined to comment.

“We can’t talk about anything,” Machen said at the service. “It’s not the time, anyway.”

The memorial service forced a delay in the plea discussions, sources said, because Cohen's son, Vinnie Cohen Jr., is an assistant U.S. attorney in D.C.

Thomas’s attorney Fred Cooke denied some media reports that Thomas has already agreed to plead guilty.

“None of the comments have come from Mr. Thomas’s group or his team, and nothing has come from the Office of the U.S. Attorney,” Cooke said. “So the people who know the most about this haven’t said anything, so I think you ought to take that in to consideration when you figure out whether these rumors have any validity or not.”

But a deal could be reached by the end of the week, sources said.

Thomas did not show up at a council session Wednesday. Should he resign soon, a special election to fill his Ward 5 seat could be held as early as April 3.

Thomas has publicly denied wrongdoing but agreed in a civil case with the District to repay the $300,000. He missed a $50,000 payment due Tuesday.

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