Former DC City Council Chairman Kwame Brown Gets a One-Day Jail Sentence

The sentence is less than the six days wanted by prosecutors.

By: Carol Ross Joynt

His political career may be in shambles, but the world turned today in a healing way for former DC council chairman Kwame Brown. If you recall, he resigned his council post last summer after being indicted for lying about his income on loan applications. The prosecutor in the bank fraud argued for a sentence of six days in jail. Brown’s own lawyer argued for probation.

In the end what he got from US District Judge Richard J. Leon was one day in custody and six months of home detention. That feels very much on the road to redemption and essentially puts an end to this arc of Brown’s once high-flying and promising political career. He still faces sentencing for a misdemeanor charge.

The man who rose fast in the city council also became synonymous with excess. Not long after he became chairman in January 2011, succeeding Mayor Vincent Gray, it was revealed that he had the city lease him a Lincoln Navigator for almost $2,000 month, and that he rejected the first Lincoln that was leased for him because it didn’t have the interior of his choice—black on black.

Last week a contrite Brown sent a letter to Judge Leon in which he asked for leniency. He cited his humble beginnings and noted he was the first at-large council member in the city’s history to be elected from east of the Anacostia River. “I was a personal example of how a DC public school graduate could through hard work and determination achieve success,” he wrote.

Brown, who is 42 years old, said he had come to terms with his wrongdoing. “My public humiliation, the pain that I have caused my family, friends, and supporters, [and] the embarrassment that I have caused to the city that I love are all the consequences of my actions.”

Those who watch DC politics will now focus their attention on when and what the US Attorney’s office decides to do in the pending investigation of Mayor Gray and his campaign. There has long been speculation of possible indictments relating to the management of the campaign, which prosecutor Ronald Machen called “corrupted.”