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More Charges Come Raining Down on Ex-D.C. Suburban County Exec Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson/wusa

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Jack Johnson, who in his final weeks as a county executive in suburban Washington got busted on a wiretap advising his wife to hide evidence as FBI agents knocked on the door, was indicted Monday on charges of conspiracy, extortion, tampering with a witness and evidence and taking more than $200,000 in bribes.

The indictment against former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson, 61, highlighted the rampant corruption in one of the most affluent  African-American majority counties in the nation. Johnson, a former state’s attorney in Prince George’s County, and his wife, a newly elected county council member,  were originally arrested in November on a criminal complaint for evidence tampering.

“Pay-to-play government is not democratic government,” Baltimore U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. “Anyone who seeks benefits or approvals from the government should be evaluated on the merits, without being extorted for payments or losing out to competitors who pay bribes. Government employees flagrantly abuse the public trust when they take money in return for official acts.”

Authorities said the eight count indictment filed in Greenbelt, Md., alleges that between 2003 to Nov. 12, 2010, Johnson conspired with others, including Amrik Singh Melhi, who owned a number of liquor stores in Maryland; commercial and residential developers; other public officials; candidates for elected office; and others ” to accept bribes in exchange for Johnson and other public officials using their influence and agreeing to perform favorable official actions, to benefit Amrik Melhi, developers, business people, and their companies.”

The indictment alleges that  campaign contributions above state legal limits were made by Amrik Melhi, developers and others to Jack Johnson, his wife, Leslie Johnson, a county council member and other candidates.  The indictment alleges that Johnson and other state and local elected officials failed to report the excess contributions.

Authorities also alleged that  Johnson received cash and checks, including a $100,000 check, and other benefits from developers in return for his help in securing funds for projects.

The indictment also alleges that Johnson, jut before his arrest on Nov. 12, told his wife via phone to destroy a $100,000 check provided by a developer and to hide a large amount of cash in her underwear as agents knocked on the door.

After gaining entry to the home, agents recovered about $79,600 form the wife’s underwear. She has been charged in a criminal indictment with tampering with a witness and evidence, but was not named as a defendant in the indictment.

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