|Friday, December 09, 2011 – Robert Lang, Steve Fermier and Associated Press|
|The wife of a former Maryland county executive was sentenced Friday to one year and a day in prison for her role in obstructing an investigation into her husband’s corruption.
Former Prince George’s County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson was sentenced after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit witness and evidence tampering.
The sentence allows her to be released from prison after 10 months.
Her husband, former County Executive Jack Johnson, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison this week for extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from developers and accepting gifts during his tenure.
Leslie Johnson has admitted flushing down the toilet an illicit $100,000 bribe check as FBI agents arrived at the couple’s home.
She also stuffed nearly $80,000 in her undergarments.
Her lawyer, Shawn Wright, called the destruction of evidence a “thoughtless and instinctive reaction to protecting her husband of over 35 years.”
Wright said the action was over and done within 10 minutes, and that while Johnson accepts responsibility for destroying the check, she had no other knowledge of her husband’s crimes.
Prosecutors say the evidence shows that Johnson was aware that her husband was extorting developers to contribute to her campaign.
When the Johnsons discussed destroying the evidence, prosecutors say, she never paused to ask why or what was going on because she already knew.
“The conversation is all about destroying the evidence and getting rid of the cash,” Assistant U.S. Attorney A. David Copperthite said.
“It has nothing to do with an inquiry on her part.”
… Goodbye, Mrs. Johnson. Keeping it all in the family. …