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Posted at 06:32 PM ET, 03/07/2012

Judge suspends sentence for Sulaimon Brown on traffic stop

A D.C. Superior Court magistrate judge Wednesday suspended a three-month jail sentence for former D.C. mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown as a result of his September arrest for driving without a permit.

After a hearing before Judge Elizabeth Carroll Wingo, Brown and his attorney, James W. Rudasill Jr., and said the judge also suspended the $50 fine Brown was facing for the Sept. 12 infraction.

However, Brown must pay $50 in court costs, Rudasill said.

Brown was arrested and charged with driving without a permit after he was pulled over for a broken headlight in the 600 block of Florida Ave NW.

Brown, who had pled guilty to driving without a permit, has alleged that the campaign of Mayor Vincent C. Gray paid him and promised a city job in 2010 to disparage then-mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Gray has denied the allegations.

When he was stopped, Brown had a Maryland driver’s license that had been suspended because of an unpaid parking fine in the District. He initially argued that the fine was unlawful because it was given on July 4, a holiday, and he said he did not receive proper notice. Though he paid the parking fine after the arrest, the city continued to pursue the charges against him.

The traffic stop became confrontational, and Brown refused to get out of his vehicle and called 911 because the officers were in an unmarked car. A failure to obey charge was later dropped.

Rudasill Jr. said the city should have dropped all charges. “Normal protocol is to dismiss,” he said Wednesday. “As the judge said, it was troubling that Mr. Brown was not treated as any other person.”

Brown’s allegations have led to a grand jury probe that has expanded to to contributions to Gray’s mayoral campaign, including cash and money-order donations, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation. The Washington Post analysis of contributions found that the Gray campaign accepted an unusual number of money-order donations, including several from firms or people with ties to fundraiser and businessman Jeffrey E. Thompson.

Last week, federal authorities raided Thompson’s homes and offices as well as those of public relations consultant Jeanne Clarke Harris, a consultant to the Gray campaign.

Thompson has not returned calls seeking comment, and Harris’s attorney has declined comment.

On Wednesday, after the fine for driving without a permit was suspended, Brown said: “It’s over.”

By and  |  06:32 PM ET, 03/07/2012

 
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