Jack Johnson enters not guilty plea in corruption case

Former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson on Tuesday said he will “fight” federal bribery charges.

“I don’t even recognize the person being charged,” Johnson said Tuesday, shortly after pleading not guilty in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. “I gave every minute, every effort to the people of Prince George’s County.”

Johnson, 61, a former prosecutor who was the county’s top elected official from 2002 to 2010, is accused of accepting $200,000 from a developer in exchange for official acts. The charges are part of what prosecutors call a far-reaching corruption probe in Prince George’s County.

Johnson’s lawyer, Billy Martin, said outside court that the defense will aggressively fight wiretap evidence that prosecutors have used to build their case.

The probe became public in November when Johnson and his wife, Leslie, were arrested at their home and accused of conspiring to hide $79,600 in cash in Leslie Johnson’s underwear and flush a $100,000 check down the toilet. At the time, they were charged with evidence and witness tampering.

In February, Jack Johnson was indicted on eight charges, including bribery. He is the only person charged so far in the alleged scheme, but prosecutors have said other county officials and business people were co-conspirators.

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