News & Politics

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

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

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.”