- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2011

A plea hearing has been scheduled in the case against Prince George’s County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Mrs. Johnson will appear in federal court on Thursday on charges of evidence tampering. Prosecutors say she tried to destroy and hide money given to her husband, former County Executive Jack B. Johnson. Federal agents arrested the pair in November at their Mitchellville home.

The Office of the U.S. Attorney for Maryland on Friday issued a brief statement announcing the hearing.

Last month, Mr. Johnson pleaded guilty to charges of extortion and witness and evidence tampering. As part of his plea, he admitted accepting a $100,000 check from county developer Mirza Baig in exchange for securing federal funding for the developer’s projects.

Several previous plea hearings scheduled for Mrs. Johnson before Mr. Johnson pleaded guilty have been postponed. Mr. Johnson will be sentenced in September and prosecutors say he is likely facing 13 to 15 years in prison.

Mrs. Johnson, a Democrat, faces two felony charges. If she pleads guilty to a felony offense, she would lose her seat on the council.

According to court records, Mr. Johnson, a Democrat who was previously the county’s top prosecutor, was heard on a phone line tapped by authorities telling Mrs. Johnson to tear up the $100,000 check from the developer and to stash tens of thousands of dollars in cash in her bra.

“Tear it up! That is the only thing you have to do,” Mr. Johnson told his wife, referring to the check, according to prosecutors.

Asked by his wife about “cash down in the basement,” the documents say Mr. Johnson replied, “Put it in your bra and walk out or something, I don’t know what to do.”

Later, Mr. Johnson told his wife to flush the check down the toilet, according to documents.

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