Thomas Gore, guilty of Gray campaign misdeeds, seeks probation


Thomas Gore leaves the District’s federal courthouse after pleading guilty last May. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

A longtime friend and campaign aide of Mayor Vincent C. Gray is hoping to avoid jail time for his role in illegal payoffs to a fellow candidate in 2010.

In a court papers filed Friday, Thomas W. Gore asked U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to spare him jail time when he is sentenced July 26. Prosecutors the week prior asked the judge to hand Gore a six-month prison sentence, saying he “caused significant damage to the image and integrity of the District’s electoral process.”

A probation-only sentence is justified, his lawyer Frederick D. Cooke Jr. wrote, “in view of Mr. Gore’s unequivocal acceptance of responsibility, his well-documented history of extraordinary community service, and the significant role he continues to perform as a family member, friend and mentor to others.”

Gore, 62, pleaded guilty in May 2012 to campaign finance violations, as well as a felony obstruction of justice charge for destroying a spiral-bound notebook in which he kept records of payoffs to Sulaimon Brown — the minor candidate who in exchange for the cash verbally attacked incumbent Adrian M. Fenty on the campaign trail.

In arguing for the probation-only sentence, Cooke made note of Gore’s childhood in foster care, his long history working for social service organizations and as a church deacon, and his role as “the good son, the good brother, the good friend, and the good mentor throughout his life.”

“Mr. Gore’s life is replete with examples of his giving spirit which speaks to his true character,” the memorandum reads. “The instant offense is completely at odds with the life that Mr. Gore has lead for the last 58 years.”

The memorandum lays out how Gore, the campaign’s assistant treasurer and the person in charge of the day-to-day finances, conspired with fellow campaign worker Howard L. Brooks to pay off Brown with fraudulent money orders. There is no mention in the document, nor in any other court document in the Gore or Brooks cases, that Gray had knowledge of the scheme.

In arguing against jail time, Cooke wrote that Gore “has cooperated with federal authorities in an effort to provide assistance in furthering the investigation and prosecution of illegal activities here in the District” and that he has already “suffered public humiliation and intense media scrutiny as a result of his actions.”

“Mr. Gore fully understands that his conduct has added to the poor image of the District at a time when that image is under substantial question,” Cooke wrote. “Throughout the great majority of his adult life, Mr. Gore has been a contributor to a positive image of his hometown. On this occasion, he did not make that positive difference, and he is genuinely remorseful about that.”

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.

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Mike DeBonis · July 1, 2013