D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown, who resigned Wednesday evening after being charged with a single count of bank fraud, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington, D.C., Friday morning. The charge stemmed from his falsifying his earnings by tens of thousands of dollars on a forged document provided as part of an application for a home equity loan and a boat he named "Bulletproof." Brown faces no more than six months in jail, thanks to an agreement his attorney negotiated with the government, NBC Washington reports.
Brown will head to a second court hearing later today after being charged on Thursday with one misdemeanor count of making an "unlawful cash campaign expenditure."
This is not his first brush with scandal since becoming council chairman. Soon after getting the top spot, he "inappropriately requested" and was ultimately forced to return a fully loaded Lincoln Navigator SUV that cost the city close to $2,000 monthly.
“I’m shocked by the news; I am disappointed and saddened. I was elected to the Council when Chairman Brown was elected to an at-large position," D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said in a written statement when news of the bank fraud charge broke. "I served with him my entire time on the Council. Never would I have imagined something like this would occur.”
Brown is the second councilmember forced to resign in the past six months because of corrupt behavior. Former councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. is serving a prison sentence of three-plus years after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $350,000 from the D.C. government that was meant for youth sports and arts programs.
Federal authorities also have been investigating Gray's 2010 campaign because of allegations of payments made to another mayoral candidate to publically criticize then-incumbent Adrian Fenty's re-election bid. The city's former mayor, the infamous Marion Barry, who serves on the council, raised eyebrows in April after making racist remarks about Asian business owners operating in the ward he represents.
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(Photo: Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times/Landov)