The Washington Times - May 18, 2011, 08:57AM

FORMER PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY EXECUTIVE JACK JOHNSON pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony charges involving thousands of dollars in bribes he solicited as part of a “pay-to-play” culture that federal authorities say he fostered throughout his two terms in office, according to The Washington Times. Johnson, who led Prince George’s from 2002 to December and was the county’s top prosecutor for eight years before that, entered his guilty plea in federal court in Greenbelt on charges of extortion and witness and evidence tampering.

THE D.C. COUNCIL on Tuesday sought a court order to bring in key witnesses who have ducked hearings on Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s personnel practices. In a unanimous vote, the council said the D.C. Superior Court should require Sulaimon Brown and Cherita Whiting to appear before the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment or face contempt charges, according to The Washington Times. Mr. Brown — a minor mayoral candidate who says he was paid and promised a job by the Gray campaign team to stay in last year’s primary race and bash incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty — is the central figure in the investigation. Ms. Whiting, who worked on Mr. Gray’s campaign, was hired as a special assistant in the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation but resigned after reports in The Times about her undisclosed criminal background.

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GAY RIGHTS GROUPS and other organizations are asking the Virginia State Board of Social Services to delay implementing new regulations they say allow faith-based organizations in the state to discriminate in adoptions based on sexual orientation. The board is required to reopen the comment period if at least 25 people make such a request. It is expected to vote on the decision at its next meeting, according to The Washington Post.

VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL KENNETH T. CUCCINELLI II, a Republican, has hired Richmond.com dating columnist Caroline Gibson as his new deputy director of communications. The self-described “26-year-old single girl living in the Fan District” of Richmond and “social media nerd” has been writing the dating column as a night gig. During the day, her resume indicates, she’s worked in a variety of public relations jobs, according to The Washington Post.

A VETERAN METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT INSPECTOR’s demotion after he disagreed in a case sparked by a political activist and online “friend” of Chief Cathy L. Lanier was made “without any legitimate factual basis” and violated his due process rights, the officer’s lawyer says. Attorney James Pressler writes in the pending appeals case that the rights of his client, Inspector Victor V. Brito, were violated by the chief to “scapegoat” him for the police department’s failure to appease activist and Facebook friend Cherita Whiting and that Chief Lanier is punishing his client for not doing something he would have been prevented from doing under the department’s own rules: taking it on himself to redact the name of a complaining witness from the file, according to The Washington Times.

MARYLAND GOV. MARTIN O’MALLEY on Thursday will sign into law a bill that would put waste-to-energy plants in the same renewable-energy class as solar and wind plants over the objections of fellow Democrats and environmentalists who had urged a veto of the measure, according to The Washington Times. The governor said in a statement that after “careful deliberation” he decided to sign the bill, which will allow waste-to-energy plants that burn and convert garbage to energy to sell renewable-energy credits just as solar and wind plants do.

FORMER MARYLAND GOV. WILLIAM DONALD SCHAEFER’S ability to surprise, delight and confound was on display again Tuesday with the public release of his last will and testament, which showered bits of his $2.4 million estate on devoted aides, friends and institutions. Beneficiaries ranged from multimillionaire baker and developer John Paterakis to a chauffeur, an obscure Ellicott City church and a man who introduced Schaefer to black church leaders a half-century ago, at the dawn of the future Baltimore mayor, governor and state comptroller’s political career, according to the Baltimore Sun.