News & Politics

Prosecutors Want More Time for Disgraced Former DC Council Member to Cooperate

Prosecutors asked a federal judge to delay sentencing for former Council member Michael A. Brown, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges.

Federal prosecutors want to give disgraced former DC Council member Michael A. Brown at least another three months to cooperate with their broader investigation into political corruption in the district, according to papers filed in US District Court today.

Brown, who pleaded guilty in June to federal bribery charges, was scheduled to be sentenced on January 14, but prosecutors are now asking for that hearing to be pushed back to April 28 at the earliest.  Brown, who served a singled term on the Council from 2009 to 2012, admitted to taking $55,000 in cash bribes, including $10,000 that was delivered in a Redskins tumbler.

The requested continuance will further assist the government in meeting with the defendant as part of his cooperation in the ongoing criminal investigation, particularly concerning newly discovered evidence,” prosecutors wrote in their motion to continue. Brown, the son of former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, has been cooperating since his guilty plea, which came a few months after he dropped out of a special election to get back on to the Council after being defeated in the 2012 general election, and was originally set to be sentenced in October.

Brown’s bribery charge is not directly tied to the ongoing investigation by US Attorney Ron Machen, which is focusing on illicit campaign donations allegedly financed by businessman and former DC Medicaid contractor Jeffrey Thompson. However, Brown’s plea deal included an admission that his 2008 campaign accepted an unreported payment from Thompson. Thompson is suspected of funding a $653,000 “shadow campaign” on behalf of Mayor Vince Gray’s 2010 campaign. Neither Thompson or Gray, who is running for re-election, have been charged with any crime.

Brown’s attorneys agreed with the request for an extension, according to prosecutors’ brief.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.