The following is a brief timeline of events leading up to former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson’s and his wife Leslie Johnson's appearances and guilty pleas at the federal courthouse in Greenbelt.
Johnson and his wife Councilwoman Leslie E. Johnson have been embroiled in controversy over charges of bribery and extortion since their arrest in late 2010. Earlier this year the former county executive pleaded guilty to one count of extortion and one count of evidence tampering. Leslie Johnson entered a guilt plea June 30.
This information is based on court documents and statements from prosecutors and the Johnsons.
Nov. 12, 2010: Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. and charged in federal court for tampering with witnesses and evidence and trying to destroy evidence of a bribe from a local developer. Both asserted their innocence.
The charges against the Johnsons were criminal in nature and could send them to jail for up to 20 years, with three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine for each charge. The specific charges are for tampering with witnesses and evidence relating to the commission of a federal offense and the destruction, alteration and falsification of documents in a federal investigation, according to court documents.
Nov. 30, 2010: Langley Park store owner Amrik Singh Melhi, his wife and a Prince George's County Police corporal accused of conspiring to transport untaxed cigarettes and alcohol in Maryland and Virginia pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court. County Police Cpl. Chong Chen Kim, 42, of Beltsville was released until his jury trial in January. He was ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jillyn K. Schulze to adhere to curfew calls until an electronic monitoring system could be set up for him.
Dec. 12, 2010: Campaign finance records show that companies owned or affiliated with Melhi, the Langley Park liquor store owner charged in a federal corruption investigation contributed thousands to the campaigns of several Prince George's County elected officials in the last decade. Among the recipients were the campaigns of Johnson and his wife.
Feb. 14, 2011: According to an eight-count indictment, from 2003 through Nov. 12, 2010, Jack Johnson conspired with Melhi among others to accept bribes in exchange for Johnson and other public officials to perform favorable actions that benefited Melhi, developers and other business people.
March 15, 2011: Jack Johnson was arraigned at the U.S. Courthouse in Greenbelt for charges stemming from a pay-to-play scandal that persisted throughout his time in office. Johnson pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to all eight counts against him, as federal prosecutors announced additional evidence gleaned from wiretaps would be introduced later this week.
March 25, 2011: Leslie E. Johnson was formally charged with conspiracy after a federal wiretap caught her destroying a $100,000 check from a developer last fall.
May 17, 2011:
June 28, 2011: Former Prince George’s County Police Officer Sinisa Simic faces 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court Tuesday to cocaine trafficking, extortion and other offenses, according to The Washington Post. Simic, 25, and Mirza Kunjundzic, 30, were indicted in March on new charges of conspiring to commit extortion. They had been indicted in October on drug and gun charges.
June 30, 2011: County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson (Dist. 6) voluntarily agreed to plead guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit evidence and witness tampering. Leslie, 59, agreed to this plea agreement on March 24. Under the agreement, Johnson faces 20 years in prison, with three years of supervised release after this sentence and a $250,000 fine. She is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 13.