Former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown will have to adhere to a curfew and check in with federal court officials in person after failing to make three weekly required phone calls to the court — one of the conditions of his release prior to his sentencing for felony bank fraud next month.
Pretrial services officials for U.S. District Court, where Brown pleaded guilty to a felony bank fraud charge earlier this year, said at a violation hearing held Tuesday that Brown did not make three out of 14 required phone calls while he awaits his Nov. 12 sentencing.
A stern Judge Richard J. Leon scolded Brown and advised him not to "tempt fate" in the weeks before his sentencing.
"I'd like to apologize. I understand the importance of calling in," Brown said.
Judge Leon promptly cut him off.
"You do?" Judge Leon asked. "Your conduct does not reflect that."
Judge Leon ordered Brown to adhere to a daily curfew between 11 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. and to report weekly to pretrial services in person rather than via telephone calls.
Under sentencing guidelines, Brown faces up to six months in prison for the felony bank fraud charge, which is related to the overstating of his income between 2005 and 2007 on a home equity loan application. He also pleaded guilty in D.C. Superior Court to misdemeanor campaign finance violation related to his 2008 campaign for re-election as an at-large council member.
In court Tuesday, Brown said he thought some of his appearances in court or phone calls about other matters had fulfilled the obligation to call into court.
Brown failed to call in the weeks of June 11, July 16 and Sept. 10, said pretrial services official Patty Sucato.
"For each infraction there was a warning provided to Mr. Brown," Ms. Sucato said, adding that Brown's attorney Frederick Cooke was also notified.
D.C. Superior Court has also been made aware of the infractions in the federal case, Ms. Sucato said.
The first time Brown failed to call in was because he forgot while on vacation, Brown said Tuesday. The second lapse occurred when Brown went out of town and thought that his call notifying officials that he was going away qualified as a check in. Brown said he failed to call a third time because he was in court being "booked" by the Metropolitan Police Department, apparently on the misdemeanor charge, and thought appearance in court counted as checking in.
"You are five weeks from sentencing," Judge Leon said. "This is not the way to position yourself most favorably before sentencing. ... Don't violate that curfew because if you do, there will not be three strikes. There will be one. You don't want to know what the next step will be."
Brown promptly went to the pretrial services office following the hearing. Afterward he bantered some with reporters on unrelated topics, but both he and Mr. Cooke declined to say anything more about the case.
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