- The Washington Times - Monday, June 10, 2013

Former D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to one count of bribery.

Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, Brown faces a sentence of up to 37 months in prison with three years supervised release. The charge carried a maximum 15 years in prison. Brown was also ordered to forfeit $35,000.

Prosecutors noted Brown was cooperating with investigators. U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Wilkins released him on personal recognizance and scheduled his sentencing for Oct. 3.

Brown, who held an at-large seat on the council as an independent from 2008 until this year, said little in the course of the roughly 45-minute hearing, mostly acknowledging the judge’s questions with short answers.

Brown did not speak to reporters after the hearing. His attorney, Brian M. Heberlig, would not elaborate on the nature of Brown’s cooperation with investigators but confirmed that the investigation was the reason Brown dropped out of an April 23 special election for an at-large D.C. Council seat.  

Federal prosecutors on Friday charged Brown with one count of felony bribery for accepting money from undercover agents who posed as representatives of a company seeking approval from the District as a certified business enterprise.

According to court documents, Brown took the cash from an undercover agent often at area restaurants.

On July 11, Brown met an undercover agent and a person identified in court papers as “Person A” at the Channel Inn in Southwest. Brown got $15,000 in $100 bills duffel bag that also contained a Washington Nationals baseball hat and two Nationals T-shirts.

On Aug. 2 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Northwest, Brown was given $10,000 in $100 bills in a Washington Redskins coffee mug.

That same month, on Aug. 28, he accepted $5,000 in cash in a silver coffee mug at the Channel Inn.

On Nov. 29, also at the Channel Inn, he was given $5,000 in cash in $100 bills in an envelope.

And on March 14 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Northwest he was given $15,000 cash in $100 bills wrapped in a rubber band. The undercover agent at that meeting also gave Brown a “bonus” of $5,000, the court papers say.

Two D.C. Council members last year resigned and pleaded guilty to criminal charges.